Residential complex Cascina-Merlata

Milano, Italy
Competition 2010, 2nd. place

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Residential complex Cascina-Merlata

The main goal of the project was to change the attribute of periphery given to the area, creating a cross board link between the proposed master plan Cascina Merlata and the existing neighbourhood “Gallaratese”.  Accordingly to this idea was decided to design an open cluster, which could create a virtual door towards the new area of Cascina Merlata.

One of the first goals of the project is to reduce the attribute of periphery and “bounder site ” of the area, creating connections at different levels between the new master plan “Cascina Merlata” and the Gallaratese neighborhood.

The use of an open cluster helps in this way to implement the relationship of the area with the city and constitutes a virtual door towards the site of Cascina Merlata.

Rather than designing a continuous elevation on the main road, the “comb” morphology of the design increases connections of the park with the street.

Moreover the parallel displacement of the buildings determines a rhythm (volume/open-space) that helps to reinforce the existing structure of the landscape giving a matrix of possible development to the undefined level of sprawl growth of the area.

The new generation of urban characters, is supported through the way all the fluxes and public areas together with the different activities are combined in the project.

The right balance between built up volumes and open spaces, the way all the functions are mixed in the program and public spaces are kept under control, and the consistency of the ecological side of the project, are few of the aspects that defined the new urbanity created in our design.

The ground of the project is split on two different levels, this allows to define a sequence of more contained spaces, which are well controller from users and have a different gradient of privacy; this parameters are very similar to the one we find in old city fabrics.

Spaces are designed following needs of the cooperatives, and the way commuters live and work inside of them, with the idea of implementing shared areas and activities in the neighborhood.

These principles belong to all the different levels and areas, the street, the plaza, the interior garden, and the shared spaces at all floor levels in the buildings.


The way the site is organized highlights the residual character of the area, distant from infrastructures and services, detached from the city centre and kept out from the close neighbourhood by the axe of Via Gallarate.

The proposal aims to generate continuity between the new neighborhood of Cascina Merlata and the Gallaratese, creating walkways, cycling paths and places that people from the community and all inhabitants in general can access and use.

The square at the lowest level ( +0 mt) sits within a continuity with the space in front of via Gallarate and the park in the north side, working at the same time  as a public space open to fluxes and rich of functions that are matching its public character.

Moreover some of the residential typologies are located on the ground floor with a series of spaces dedicated to public services and work areas of public interest.

The high square at +4 mt level on top of the basement containing public services, it is accessible through a landscape-ramp that works as a filter to give  more privacy to the (open) courtyard. An enriched level of privacy encourages the position of housing function on this level, giving the opportunity to users of colonizing this (semi)-public space.

1. Vertical connections supported by series of horizontal semi pivate “gallery streets”

2. Ground Public Level at ±0,0

3. Public, collective and urban programe distributed on ground levels ±0,0 and +4,0

4. Ground Public/Semi Public level at +4,0

Life style


In order to achieve a collective experience such as sharing, the social model as proposed was strictly put in relation to the different profiles of users, creating shared and self-managed spaces, enhancing and enabling the exchange among all the different inhabitants – with the result of the creation of a sense of community.

Common spaces. Small and diffused.

Flats share some functions and have public amenities, such as laundries, bricolage areas, etc…

The system of distribution of the flats with external wide passageways, is thought to implement the public interaction among families.

Moreover the external passageways are designed as a method of increasing the control on outer public spaces and the creation of a safer environment by direct views overlooking the children’s playground.

Common spaces. Aggregation areas.

The common spaces are designed to be used regularly throughout  the work day and the weekend, guaranteeing a constant flux of people and avoiding the misuse of any public facility.


Flats. Flexibility, modularity, comfort.

Flats are designed to provide a high level of flexibility for all different types of users (families and individuals), the structural system as proposed has a high degree of flexibility, in order to provide different options in the aggregation or subdivision of spaces, allowing  expansion or contractions of the family groups.


All layouts of flats are designed with an east-west connection, rooms and services located on the east side, living rooms on the west side, with terraces or wide ballatoi which can be used depending on the occupant/the weather.

The passive systems (control for the climate) are guaranteed to obtain a high level of Energy efficiency: double exposition (east-west) for ventilation, brise-soleil to control the sun light, and a package of the facade containing different layers in order to implement thermal insulation, plus a high index of compactness of the warmed up volume.

The logic of the assemblage of the facade package and the dimensional and typological standardization of the wet areas (bathrooms  and kitchens) and rooms, gives high efficiency on construction processes, and high value in terms of costs and implementation.

Moreover – the prefabricated dry assembled system allows the reuse of recycled construction materials.

The External Façade of the building is designed in modules of wood to assemble with perforated metal panels, guaranteeing a high level of insulation of 0,143w/m2k (class A), which can only be achieved in the traditional techniques of constructions through relatively thick walls at a higher cost.

Residential complex Cascina-Merlata

Milano, Italy
Competition 2010, 2nd. place



-AAA 2010 Architetticercasi


approx. 10500 sqm Site area

approx. 5700 sqm Building area

approx. 29600 sqm Total Floor area


2 basement, up to 15 stories Scale


Concrete / Prefab. Wooden infill Structure


Roy Nash, René Dlesk, Matteo Parini Design Architects

Muro Sina, Debora Magri, Igor Hobza, Michal Bernart Collaboration


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