City in the city

Città Studi as a recognizable urban centrality | Chiara Battini, Riccardo Bondioni
Città Studi, Milan, Italy | 2018



Our project started from the understanding of Città Studi as an open campus, founded in 1927 in an area characterized by block containing building for universities and research institutes. After the city growth we can see nowadays how the university campus has changed and on the same time how it defined connections and relationships with the surrounding urban fabric. For this reason, it has lost a clear recognizably at the urban level. Following these considerations, we’ve chosen to design a new virtual boundary that could redefine Città Studi as a recognizable urban centrality. The project was developed along two orthogonal axis (Via Ponzio and Via Celoria) that define the core of the campus, shifting the current situation. We have identified three areas of intervention along these two axes.



The first area is located on the northern block of Città Studi, where a public swimming pool is currently located. Inside this space, we have worked through an excavation in the ground, with the aim of creating a connection between this new space and the existing underground areas of the School of Architecture.



Through a sequence of three linear ramps we redefine the access to this new open space, divided into three different areas: a first square overlooked by a volume excavated in the ground a central permeable space, characterized by a dense presence of trees that is connected to an existing green area of the Polytechnic and a second square overlooked by the first building of our intervention: a tower.



This volume was thought as a landmark in the urban context, with the aim of giving back to Città Studi its identity lost over time. The tower consists of two large walls, placed on the short sides, which contain several serving functions and a strip placed on the eastern side, containing the stairwells and the lift shaft a parallelepiped body that  emerges from the west façade and contains, reaching the square, is the exception in the composition.



The second area is located on the central block of Città Studi, where the Giuriati Sports Ground is currently located. It is a block characterized by a great void, that we wanted to underline, giving higher definition to its perimeter through a set of three interventions. Our aim was at the same time to strengthen the two main axis without losing the continuity of the urban space.



The first intervention overlooks via Ponzio and consists of a building that developed in length (and less in height). Its structure consists of thick retaining walls, and the western strip along the entire building contains serving spaces, including the stairwells and the lift shaft. While the ground floor is composed of three bodies divided by two passages that allow the entrance to the block, the two upper floors form a single volume. This choice aimed to reinforce the idea of continuity of the axis.



The second intervention overlooks via Celoria and it is made up of several volumes, higher than the previous one.  Through these buildings we have set a sequence of full and empty spaces, that are repeated in a modular way, using in this case the regularity (the geometry?) to reinforce the axis.



The third intervention doesn’t have the function of defining the axis, but rather that of closing the block. For this reason, it behaves differently from previous volumes in particular according how it touches the ground. It has a high ground floor thanks to a sequence of large walls, which also contains the stairwells and the lift shaft.



Finally, the third area is located on the former site of the National Cancer Institute. Our intervention takes up the existing excavation forming an underground square which is accessed through three ramps that create a link with the open space of the block. On the square there are three volumes of irregular shape with large dimensions which contrast with an internal regularity, given above all by rectangular central rooms. The structure of these large volumes is composed of supporting walls, parallel to the central hall, which give rise to different serving spaces of different sizes.



About Chiara Battini, Riccardo Bondioni

Chiara Battini and Riccardo Bondioni are two students of the third year of architecture at the Milan Polytechnic.

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