Filippo Romano, Andrea Martiradonna
SSA, Scandurra Studio Architettura + Zanetti Design Architettura Studio
The UpTown neighbourhood is described as «smart» not just by Euromilano — the real estate development company that commissioned the new urban area — but also by the many companies (Vodafone, Bosch, A2A, Samsung, WeShare’ngo and Clear Channel to mention just a few) that will be responsible for equipping apartments, condominiums and the area as a whole with innovative technology, from communal car sharing to connectivity and video surveillance.
Micro and macro, LEED certified
The individual buildings themselves are also equipped with state-of-the-art home automation features. Digital services, a condominium gym, a bilingual micro-creche, coworking spaces and direct access to the large public park are all aspects that improve the quality of life of families. The neighbourhood will also be the first entirely carbon-free district in Italy. Instead of natural gas, the smart district will be heated by a fourth-generation district heating network connected to the nearby Figino waste treatment plant, while geothermal aquifers will be used for cooling. UpTown’s ecological sustainability will be validated by GBC Italia (Green Building Council), making it the first Italian district to be certified in its entirety.
2,000 houses by 2026
The first building stage in UpTown will consist of around 420 apartments out of a total of 2,000 houses to be completed by 2026.
Based on a project by SSA, Scandurra Studio Architettura and Zanetti Design Architettura Studio, the buildings in the first two lots in Cascina Merlata (four towers and three linear buildings) aim to create an open residential system that interconnects seamlessly with the existing urban fabric and landscape.
The third lot will be built to a project by Rome-based practice Labics, with a special focus on green building.
The area covered by the first two lots is 15,900 square metres, while the proposal creates a range of different urban areas, walkways and small squares where the public and private spaces come together in a series of open spaces, forging a powerful bond with the central park and the edges of the intervention. A sequence of isolated buildings becomes a small urban archipelago, an open system of four towers and three linear buildings facing the park. The buildings are designed as individual landscape objects that together form a single unit. The buildings pursue each other at a distance, while the slightly broken lines continue between one building and another to create a dynamic whole.
The consistent lightness of the façades
The buildings stand out for their horizontal seriality achieved by string course elements that accentuate the set of residential units as a whole, large balconies like outdoor rooms that encircle most of the volumes, connecting them with the surrounding green spaces. A system of gold- and bronze-coloured lamellar elements creates a diaphragm, a veil between the inside and outside, and interacts with the opaque massing in a luminous, lightweight whole. All the players worked together in the design process: along with the architects, the lead contractor Recchi Engineering (which together with AI Engineering was commissioned to supervise engineering and construction work) and the contractors CMB, Mangiavacchi Pedercini, Nessi & Majocchi.
Development of architectural and construction elements and the definition of the details were subjected to a process of extensive harmonisation and optimisation of the overall schedule to achieve a high level of quality while staying on budget.
The architects were able to select the product brands that would support the development of components in accordance with the executive plans and the technical characteristics dictated by the parent company.
The architects chose various solutions for the envelopes.
For this project, Zanetti Design Architettura Studio worked with Marazzi on developing the Mystone collection in the Ceppo di Gré finish, and also defined new sizes (75×150 cm) to allow for a finish that does not cover the full floor height for a more vibrant texture.
Scandurra Studio Architettura instead opted for a partnership with Cotto d’Este, a well-known Panaria Group brand.
The first is the Yosemite di Blustyle limestone-inspired porcelain tile series selected for the balconies and terraces. The second selected product consists of the large-size, ultra-thin antibacterial panels from the Kerlite Cluny collection with technical and aesthetic characteristics that make them suitable for façade cladding.
For the residential interiors, the architecture firms selected a series of products from the Cotto d’Este and Blustyle by Cotto d’Este catalogue, from which the owners of the apartments could choose their preferred finishes: Concrete Jungle and X-Beton concrete-effect porcelain for a more industrial and contemporary mood; or the wood effect from the Country and Cadore collections from Cotto d’Este for a more traditional style.