MAD Architects transforming Milan's abandoned railyards into nature-inspired leisure districts

The vitality of the future city does not rely on top-down modernist planning, but exists in the symbiosis of multi-layer urban elements
– Ma Yansong

MAD Architects have unveiled an ambitious plan to reinvigorate seven of Milan’s abandoned and dilapidated railyards into a series of interlinked green parks and new leisure communities.

Extensive landscaping runs throughout the project, while new residential, commercial and public developments will be “grafted into the landscape” in the form of MAD’s trademark organic nature-like structures.

The railyards will be collated into three main villages formed around a repurposed freight warehouse.

MAD's proposal is called ‘Historical Future: Milan Reborn for Scali Milano’. Four other international architecture firms have also been invited to put forward their own ideas: Stefano Boeri Architetti, Mecanoo Architecten, Miralles Tagliabue and Cino Zucchi Architetti.

The scheme – which is designed to “establish a harmony between Milan’s citizenry, the larger metropolitan region and the natural environment – was publicly showcased during Milan Design Week from April 4 - 9.

The seven selected railyards – Scalo San Cristoforo, Scalo Rogoredo, Scalo Lambrate, Scalo Greco-Breda, Scalo Porta Romana, Scalo Porta Genova and Scalo Farini and Valtellina – have been in varying states of disuse since the last century.

The municipality of Milan and the government of the wider Lombardy Region have long been developing a masterplan to repurpose the sites so they can “address and celebrate population growth as the city continues to densify.”

Interconnected micro-systems will conform to five spatial concepts, named ‘City of Connections,’ ‘City of Green,’ ‘City of Living,’ ‘City of Culture,’ and ‘City of Resources.’ The freight warehouse will form an organisational nexus that unifies the scales and programmes of the design proposal.

Explaining the concept in a statement, MAD said: “The diagrammatic approach addresses a vernacular development typical of Italian cities, where various typological elements and scales are overlapped into dense systems of relations.

“Designing first at the human scale within recognisable landmarks, the broader urban scale is connected to smaller ones through the interjection of topographic landscapes, serving to unify the continually changing relations of the pedestrian, city, and nature. Each of the yards, following the necessities of their adjacent neighborhoods, will thus take on new lives and functions within their sites’ dense histories.”

MAD founder Ma Yansong added: “The vitality of the future city does not rely on top-down modernist planning, but exists in the symbiosis of multi-layer urban elements, and the chemistry among them.

“These elements, such as the railyards fragments, have the potential to be redesigned to adapt to, and meet, the needs of a variety of contemporary social concerns, through their addressing of specific localities and communities. Context-specific design interventions will stimulate necessary socioeconomic opportunities, and help reshape the city of Milan.”

While the vast scale of this project is unique, this is not the first time abandoned transport infrastructure has been used as a catalyst for urban regeneration. The success of New York’s elevated High Line – the conversion of a section of railway in Manhattan into a popular park – has inspired similar initiatives as far afield as Seoul, Singapore, Sydney and London.

Related stories

Conservatism should not block boundary-pushing design, says Ma Yansong

MAD promise to take visitors on a journey through time and space with the unveiling of their China Philharmonic Hall design

Work begins on Seoul's verdant park in the sky

First phase of Sydney's High Line-inspired Goods Line opens to the public

MAD Architects have unveiled an ambitious plan to reinvigorate seven of Milan’s abandoned and dilapidated railyards into a series of interlinked green parks and new leisure communities. Extensive landscaping runs throughout the project, while new residential, commercial and public developments will be “grafted into the landscape” in the form of MAD’s trademark organic nature-like structures. The railyards will be collated into three main villages formed around a repurposed freight warehouse.
CLD,ARC,DES,DEV,GRSP,URBR
The railyards will be collated into three main villages formed around a repurposed freight warehouse / MAD Architects
More news
News stories: 1 - 30 of 7568     
 
 
 
News stories: 1 - 30 of 7568     
 
 
 
company profile
Company profile: Barr + Wray Ltd
Founded in 1959, Barr + Wray is recognised as a world-leading provider of spa design, engineering, and pool and spa equipment.
Try cladmag for free!
Sign up with CLAD to receive our regular ezine, instant news alerts, free digital subscriptions to CLADweek, CLADmag and CLADbook and to request a free sample of the next issue of CLADmag.
sign up
features
Marianne Shillingford
"The technology involved in paint is extraordinary"

Used cleverly, colour has the power to influence how people use the spaces they inhabit, says the creative director of Dulux

Montreal’s Esplanade Tranquille will feature 36 geothermal wells
"Funding woes and murky timelines are common problems. It can be easier to make a difference one small project at a time"

From parks designed to mitigate the effects of flooding to warming huts for one of the world’s coldest cities, these projects have been designed for increasingly extreme climates

The RSHP partners at the Macallan Distillery during construction
Stephen Barrett (left) 
and John McElgunn (right) were both made partners at RSHP in 2016
"Leisure space – public space – is at the very root of democracy, and architecture is about democracy"

As RSHP completes its latest cultural project, we speak to two of its partners about why Richard Rogers isn’t leaving his succession to chance

Catalogue Gallery
Click on a catalogue to view it online
To advertise in our catalogue gallery: call +44(0)1462 431385
features
The spa and fitness centre on the 57th floor end in an infinity-edge pool with views across Philadelphia
Dana Kalczak
"If we had focused entirely on high tech in the hotel, the artistry we normally strive for would have been compromised"

Four Seasons’ vice president of design speaks to CLAD about working with Norman Foster and creating magical moments

The dramatic-looking Musée de la Romanité opened in June in Nîmes, France
Elizabeth de Portzamparc
"We need to stop the destruction of our world through predatory practices. We need to think of the future"

The architect behind Nimes’ Musée de la Romanité on designing to counter loneliness and the need for more cultural buildings

Manuelle Gautrand
"The cities where you have good cultural buildings and facilities – it’s a way for people to mix, to share the city in a much deeper way"

The French architect and winner of the 2017 European Prize for Architecture tells us why she is determined to surprise

features
"Wellness embraces the entire holiday experience"

The design of the newly-opened Lefay Resort and Spa Dolomitti in Italy aims to celebrate and protect its spectacular surroundings

cladkit product news
LianTronics’ glasses-free 3D Star Trek LED screen attracts attention
Magali Robathan
LianTronics’ giant curved LED wall with stunning glasses-less 3D spaceship display effect has attracted many on the street of Chengdu, ...
Móz Designs columns anchor the world’s largest indoor aquarium
The design of the columns was inspired by the sea
Magali Robathan
After a two-year renovation, Oakland-based metal experts Móz Designs have unveiled their inclusion in Georgia Aquarium’s new shark gallery. Located ...
Siminetti unveils first glimpses of Mother of Pearl decorative surfaces inspired by the four seasons
The new winter design is finished with naturally occurring hexagonal patterns found in snowflakes
Megan Whitby
Siminetti has collaborated with British designer Chrisanna London to create a luxury Mother of Pearl decorative surface range inspired by ...
cladkit product news
Christie laser projectors power new Five Senses Bubble dome theatre
The dome aims to integrate technology with arts and culture
Magali Robathan
Christie® GS Series 1DLP® laser projectors are delivering vivid and lifelike visuals in a new dome theatre located in Xiong’an ...
Atelier Alain Ellouz launches handcrafted precious stone lighting collection
LYRA has a sleek, cylindrical design complete with an elegant brass dimming switch
Megan Whitby
LYRA, GAMA, MONA and ATHENA are the first pieces from designer Atelier Alain Ellouz’s new.édition collection of handcrafted stone lighting ...
Cosm unveils Experience Centre with ‘one of a kind’ LED dome
The new Experience Centre houses a 20m LED dome
Magali Robathan
Cosm, a global technology company that builds end-to-end solutions for immersive experiences, has unveiled its Experience Centre which houses a ...
cladkit product news
ASPA International launches handheld UV-C light disinfection lamp
The compact plug-in product can be used easily in a commercial spa or domestic setting to disinfect surfaces with UV-C light
Megan Whitby
For over 30 years, ASPA International has designed and built high-quality spas for the hotel, health and wellness sectors. During ...
Painting with Light pushes boundaries to create unforgettable visual concepts
The team combines lighting, video, sound and special effects, with scenic and architectural elements, to create unforgettable visual experiences
Megan Whitby
Belgium-based light and video design studio, Painting with Light, will translate the story of your location into a visual experience, ...
Matteo Thun grows Allaperto collection with new suspended outdoor armchair
Megan Whitby
Allaperto, the lounge collection spawned by the partnership between design studios, Matteo Thun, Ethimo and Antonio Rodriguez, has been expanded ...
x
Sign up with CLAD for regular news updates