Milanofiori Residential Complex is part of a cluster characterized by a series of functions (offices, hotels, restaurants, cinemas, residences), which has deeply contributed to the improvement of the surrounding area of Assago, in South Milan.

The design of the Residential Complex seeks a symbiosis between architecture and landscape, so that the synthesis of artificial and natural elements could define the quality of living and the sense of belonging of the inhabitants. The interface between the building and the garden catalyses the interaction between man and environment. This interface is defined by the “C” form of the complex, which embraces the public park – conceived as the extension of the existing landscape – and by the porosity from interior to exterior that characterizes all 110 units.

The two primary façades of the development differ in design: the one facing the street outside is more urban, while the one towards the inner public park is more organic. The design of the urban facade stimulates the sense of belonging, utilizing the composition of the white frames, which outline and identify the units. These frames incorporate vertical wooden panels, which can slide across the frames and control internal daylighting and privacy as necessary. The organic facade overlooking the park acts as double glazed bio-climatic greenhouses. The co-planarity between the glass of the greenhouse and the glass of the guardrail creates an effect in which figure-ground merge and constantly reverse roles. This produces a kaleidoscopic effect overlapping the reflection of the public park outside with the transparency of the private gardens inside. The geometry of the building is shaped by the terracing of the upper levels for optimum solar exposure and by the tapering of the external terraces in order to increase privacy for inhabitants. The winter garden has a double value: an environmental one providing a buffer zone, which allows thermal regulation, and an architectural one in allowing the extension of the interior living space towards the exterior landscape, permitting different uses as seasons change. The overlap of different garden layers, from public to private, creates a holistic natural landscape, which is directly customised by each resident by cultivating their internal gardens, thus personally designing the facade of each unit. In line with ever changing developments in contemporary living, the porosity of the architecture makes Milanofiori Residential Complex an evolving organism, in perpetual change, favouring the dynamic exchange between architecture and nature and stimulating the interaction between man and environment.

Milanofiori 2000 S.r.l. – Gruppo Cabassi

Project team:
Buro Happold
Favero & Milan Ingegneria
Studio Ti
Vittorio Grassi

OBR design team:
Paolo Brescia and Tommaso Principi,
Laura Anichini, Silvia Becchi,
Antonio Bergamasco, Paolo Caratozzolo Nota,
Giulia D’Ettorre, François Doria,
Julissa Gutarra, Leonardo Mader,
Andrea Malgeri, Elena Mazzocco,
Margherita Menardo, Gabriele Pitacco,
Chiara Pongiglione, Paolo Salami,
Izabela Sobieraj, Fabio Valido, Paula Vier,
Francesco Vinci, Barbara Zuccarello

Mariela Apollonio
Michele Nastasi

Milano, Italy

site area 30.000 sqm
built area 27.400 sqm

2010 Completion
2007 Technical design
2006 Developed design
2005 Concept design
2005 Design competition (1st prize)

2014 Architizer A+Awards Finalist, London
2013 Ad’A Award for Italian Architecture, Rome
2012 Green Good Design Award, Chicago
2012 WAN Awards Residential, London
2011 Leaf Awards overall winner, London
2011 Leaf Awards Residential Building of the Year, London
2010 European 40 Under 40 Award, Madrid