Projects

Cascina Merlata Residential Building - Milan

Living the future

"Part of the masterplan for the urban development of Cascina Merlata, the first residential block aims to create a new landmark in an emerging area of Milan." The complex reflects the residential building vision of architects Citterio-Viel
Author
Katrin Cosseta
Photos
Leo Torri
Architect
Studio Citterio-Viel & Partners
Surfaces
MARAZZI
Year of completion
2017

Even several years after the event, the momentum of Expo 2015 is continuing to drive Milan’s urban regeneration as new housing developments and landmarks are gradually added to the city’s rapidly-evolving skyline. One of the most strategic areas of development is Cascina Merlata, a neighbourhood in the north-west of the city which is undergoing major transformation as part of an innovative 900,000 square-metre social housing project involving both well-established practices and the younger generation of Italian architects. In particular, a residential complex consisting of two linear buildings and a tower construction designed by Citterio-Viel & Partners was recently completed. Architect Patricia Viel commented: “Inspired by the most advanced principles of environmental sustainability, the project covers a new urban area consisting of a carefully designed mixture of residential and commercial building spaces connected by a large central park. Cascina Merlata is in many ways atypical of the history of major development projects in Milan. Firstly, it originated as a design for a large public garden. The key elements of the plan are the slightly zigzagging tree-lined avenue, referred to as “the boulevard”, which leads towards the shopping centre, and the former Expo area, the future Human Technopole university research campus.” This is the setting for the three new buildings of lot R7/1 with 195 apartments, while a further two buildings are under construction to complete the project. Viel continues: “The first residential block consists of three volumes arranged in a corner layout, and thanks to the regular geometry of the 24-storey tower it establishes a strong relationship with the urban landscape.” The project report notes that “the architectural corner solution, connected to the stairway for access to the raised floor of the planted courtyard, serves to create a visually striking end section.”
The construction of a clearly recognisable street front was the guiding principle behind the composition of the facades of the two 10-storey buildings. These facades are characterised by an alternation of solids and voids, set-back sections on the top four levels to create a sense of vertical movement, the sequence of the white pilasters and the carefully balanced grey tones. “The choice of the typically warm greys of Milan emphasised the tower’s regular geometry, an aspect that we exploited to underscore its status as a landmark.” The powerful graphic identity of the tall building is simply the aesthetic result of careful technical and material choices aimed at ensuring maximum sustainability. “We worked closely with Città Contemporanea (the client, Editor) to determine the construction techniques and the solutions that would be used to construct a high-performance, highly-efficient building with public spaces of unparalleled quality for this kind of residential building,” the architect explained. Cascina Merlata is a state-of-the-art, zero-emissions community served exclusively by renewable energy sources and with all buildings in energy class A. The energy-saving porcelain rainscreen panels used for the tower cladding make a further contribution to its exceptional environmental performance. The external facing was created by alternating panels of various sizes from two Marazzi collections, Mystone Gris Fleury stone effect and SistemN Grafite high-performance technical porcelain. A third series, Blend, was chosen in Brown tones to give the building’s entrance a warm stone effect. This was an important detail given that “the building’s ground-floor level and atrium requires dignity and the ability to relate to the context as it represents our commitment to the city and its residents.” It was the same commitment that prompted the two architects to describe Cascina Merlata as “a project that focuses on real quality and attention to the environment and to the needs of people. It is a new frontier in the urban design of the city.”

Tiles
Marazzi, Mystone Gris Fleury, SistemN, Blend
Type
porcelain stoneware
Sizes
60x60, 30x120, 60x120 cm
Technical characteristics
Water absorpion (ISO 10545-3): <= 0,05
Chemical resistance (ISO 10545-13): A
Resistance to deep abrasion (ISO 10545-6): 120 - 150
Stain resistance (ISO 10545-14): conforme
Frost resistance (ISO 10545-12): conforme
Modulus of rupture and breaking strength (ISO 10545-4): conforme
Slip resistance (DIN 51130): R10
Thermal shock resistance (ISO 10545-9): conforme
Linear thermal expansion (ISO 10545-8): conforme
Certifications and awards
ECOLABEL
LEED
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