[THEME] Milan is among the liveliest metropolises in Europe: fashion and design are the sectors that make it the main business center in Italy. The identity of the city is legible by observing the skyline dominated by imposing skyscrapers: the Velasca tower, the Pirelli building and the Vertical garden are some of the architectures that embody the progressive attitude of the city. A vertical propensity that began in the 14th century with work on the Duomo, a recognized symbol in the world that boasts around 3,500 sculptures and a spire that exceeds 100 meters in height. The neighborhoods around draw a heterogeneous and constantly changing scenario; the Ticino district, near the Navigli, a place known for social life, is the site chosen to imagine a building that best interprets the neighborhood’s lifestyle. The Design Factory will attract new cultural thrusts by promoting training events for artists and designers. Urban workshops and teaching rooms will make up a complex for culture designed to be at the service of the local community. A place for interaction in one of the liveliest neighborhoods in the city.

FIRST PRIZE: Luciano Bonelli, Aguirre Pranzoni Alan (ARGENTINA)

“…..Milan design Factory will be a simple and austere cultural complex where the activities that will take place there will attract new cultural impulses. The proposal designs a semi-underground building that isolates itself from the frenetic pace of the city: the roof manifests itself outside as a large urban platform surrounded by a public green area. Inside the Design Factory, all the programs of activities and services are developed in relation to a large patio and the central space, thus placing the different service areas at the ends. The cut on the roof will allow the underground rooms to have the Basilica as a visual reference, imposing in maintaining its weight within the district…..”

SECOND PRIZE: Stefan Diaconescu, Vlad Capitanu (ROMANIA)

“… developing the proposal, the identity of the place is central: the project aims to subordinate the pre-existing context by integrating an urban void with an urban square. The proposal maintains the diagonal axis of connection to the church, an essential element within the area. The reciprocity between the intervention and the historical context is a significant value, the underground development of the Factory guarantees spatiality and horizontality to the site which, without giving up an innovative thrust, dialogues with the pre-existing structures. The roof projects visitors into an eco-sustainable dimension by creating areas and paths that open up dynamic views of the place. Terraces and green courtyards are areas that can be used during public events and exhibitions that become a reason for aggregation for the entire community. Designing an elevated green square offers citizens the opportunity to experience the neighborhood continuously during the different hours of the day…..”

THIRD PRIZE: Mihaela Kostadinova (BULGARIA)

“…..the intervention is minimal and clean, so as not to alter the identity of the square. The project aims to insist on two fundamental aspects: a raised green canopy and an arch that marks the central entrance. The canopy is a green volume that gently protrudes from the floor of the square, as its natural extension, marking the site’s boundaries and preserving the main visual and pedestrian connections. The entrance is highlighted by a series of arches borrowed as an element that characterizes the facade of the nearby basilica. The solution involves two underground levels, in this way the existing square maintains its free configuration. The access ramp is built along the perimeter of the lower level, crossing the workshops and attracting the visitor’s attention while, on the periphery of the nucleus, there are the laboratories, closed behind continuous windows that allow a constant passage of light…..”

MENTION: Katerina Rangelova (BULGARIA)

“…..the symbol of Italian cities are the squares, different in their civic and symbolic importance, they are the physical center in which urban paths converge. The proposal intends to maintain the two diagonal paths created over time: the corners formed by the intersection of the two diagonals are raised to create new spatial dynamics and allow access to the factory environments. The functions of the building are separated into different volumes, each having its own autonomy but all referring to a single system. The outdoor paths mark the traces of the junction between the parts and connection to the surrounding urban district that develops around a new architecture designed to be an attractive pole for the entire territory…..”

MENTION: Alicja Nowak, Zuzanna Kletschka (POLAND)

“…..the aim of the project was to ensure the compositional and communicative continuity of the square. The dynamic geometry offers a breath of freshness to the existing historical fabric of the neighborhood. The level of the square has been lowered to allow a distinction between public and private spheres. The access, located below street level, projects the visitor into the atrium, where the reception, cafeteria and book shop are located, illuminated by a large skylight. The laboratories and exhibition rooms are located on the upper floor. The volume can give the impression of a monolithic structure but the material used – the alabaster cladding – diffuses the light, transmitting a sense of purity that generates a deliberate contrast with the adjacent buildings…..”

MENTION: Matilde Iotti, Stella Baso, Andrea Carisdeo, Marco Colombo (ITALY)

“…..the project is based on the formal relationship with the Basilica of Sant’Eustorgio through the direct relationship with the church and the enhancement of public space. The composition takes place by adding two archetypal elements, the base and the volume that rests on it. The base allows an immediate distinction between the churchyard area and the rest of the square, the volume hierarchizes the places and the relationships between the elements of the urban fabric, transforming itself into a regulatory building, without overriding the context. Despite an important underground development of the building, a solution of continuity with the external space was sought through the design of large accessible green pockets, reinterpreting the Milanese court system. The building seems to cast its gaze on the city, transforming itself into an ideal camera at the service of the history of the place…..”

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