Milanofiori Residential Complex by OBR



Mariela Apollonio, Michele Nastasi




Milano, Italy
Milanofiori Residential Complex

This project had a particular impact on the area where it was built, could you talk about it?

This project is the result of a design competition in which it was requested to create a housing complex in a newly formed area south of Milan. So, the theme for us was how to create the sense of place, the sense of living from that specific place and, therefore, the sense of community and belonging by the future inhabitants.

In a context of such a delicate transformation, our choice was to follow a landscape-based approach, starting from the most significant presence – the pre-existing bush – making sure that it could somehow characterize all the housing units of the complex.

Our proposal sought the symbiosis between architecture and landscape, so that the quality of living could be generated from the synthesis of artificial and natural elements. The interface between the park and the apartments became the field of interaction between man and the environment: the two-dimensional facade has therefore “expanded” with a third dimension – the depth – in which it is possible to include fragments of landscape from the outside to the inside, and to extend new ways of living from the inside to the outside.

In other words, we wanted to create a buffer that blurs the threshold between inside and outside, hybridizing indoor and outdoor spaces. By transforming that buffer partially into a garden directly cared by the inhabitants, it was then possible to obtain that continuum in which space and time coincide in an inseparable entity. In the garden, in fact, space and time unify, become continuous, recovering – evoking it – the essential meaning of living in the sense of “taking care”. Unlike a residence or a hotel where if it is me or another makes no difference, in these homes the inhabitant is “called” to take care of his/her own home, similarly to how the gardener is “held back” inside his own garden which he cares for.

I recently went to Milanofiori and, speaking with a young man who lived there, when I asked him where he lived in the complex, he didn’t answer “I live on the third floor”, but “I live there, where there is the wooden table and the red maple ”, describing what he wanted to show of his home. That sentence definitively sanctioned the shift of paradigm that we hoped for, from the habitation-object to the inhabitant-subject.

From our interview with Paolo Brescia

THE TREE MAG – The Fruits of Ideas