The contemporary city is absorbed in a worldwide view influenced by the globalization phenomenon and marked by an international increasing of urban competition. This situation brings individual cities to promote substantial changes in their physical, economic and social structures, as well as their own image.
They are very widespread movement, that required considerable ability in planning, organization and design, in addition to a substantial economic investment. Even if these problems are promoted in order to improve urban, environmental and social quality and development, in many cases the result does not satisfy the expectation.
Our thesis is focused on a particular type of big event in which these processes undergo an acceleration: the Universal Expositions. In detail, the focus is on the event that took place in the Lombardian capital during Expo Milano 2015, named “Feeding the planet, Energy for life”.
Landscape Architects: Giulia Angela Sara Bassi, Enrico Marnati
Place: Expo Milano 2015, Italy
Inside the original exhibition site, the barrier effect was further increased by the creation of the two perimetral rings: the green ring and the water ring. Keeping a plant, that lack in relations with the context and completely turned inside, leads to the consequent formation of an isolated system incapable of beginning a process of urban regeneration in its surroundings.
Another fact that endorse this thesis is the way that the two structuring axes are placed on the Expo masterplan: the Cardo Maximus (Cardo) and the Decumanus Maximus (Decumano), which in the Roman urban model were used to connect the main gates of the city (east-west-north-south), in the project for the Universal Exposition do not respect this peculiar property that used to distinguish them in history from other Roman roads. The axis system, therefore, appears to be introverted, with the only function of connecting the exhibition site.
Furthermore, under the ecological view, it is right to point out how the green system appears fragmented in the area. The industry literature defines that one of the main threats for a biodiversity loss lies in the alteration and fragmentation of habitats. We are talking about an area that previously had an ecological function but that, due to the urban growth, has been subjected to an alteration of its use of land, beginning from agricultural practice to an uncultivated area until it became a cemented surface with consequent interruption of ecosystem units.
From Expo Milano 2015 to Parco Triulza
We based our key point for the masterplan development, usign the critical analysis of the site “Expo Milano 2015”. The fragmented green, which used to be only the 11% of the entire exhibition area, in the project reach the 56% of the area and become the main matrix of our design. The paved surface has been reduced from 80% to 11%, providing draining floor; the water ring that ran along the border is partially maintained, only for its ecological function, as to improve the permeability of the site. The landscape has been made more heterogeneous with the introduction within the area of the agricultural fields (23% of the total area), divided between urban gardens, rice fields and grass fields (productive and ecological function).
The project of a multi-purpose park after Expo 2015 begins from the idea of recovering and redeveloping the exhibition site after the end of the event, offering a functional and usable space at all hours of the day for the citizens of all ages. The creation of a new green lung that read the landscape and the culture of the place, able to merge the nature with other urban functions, to promote social initiatives and to contribute to the cultural education of people.
The paths of Parco Triulza follow a double structure within the project: the Roman city scheme and the agricultural matrix. The first recover the settlement rules of the Roman city and its two axes: the Cardo and the Decumano, an exceptional paradigm composed by two perpendicular tracks with the Forum (Forum) in the center, which has guided, all over the centuries, the development of thousands of cities in the world.
The agricultural matrix, the second pattern of paths, comply with the agricultural landscape of Pianura Padana. This system that allows a complete usability of the area and increases the permeability and accessibility of the site, is also promoted by a greater number of secondary entrances along the perimeter of the park.
At a bigscale level is possible to distinguish two major project areas: the Agricultural Park, which is mainly located in the west of the area and the Urban Park, located on the opposite side. They are not completely separate and definite areas, rather tend to collaborate and interact with each other trying to create a heterogeneous multi-functional park.
Dropping down the scale, the macro areas are divided into specific micro-areas. The Agricultural Park include the Cascina Triulza, with its educational and productive agriculture fields, and the agri-food start-ups, instead the Urban Park contains the Lombardy wooden forest and the events area. Between them, as to help the transition and to create an integrated system, are located the sporting centre and the market area.
The area of operation is located between the protected areas of “Groane Regional Parks” and “Parco Agricolo Sud Milano”. Within the two above mentioned Regional Parks, recognized as First Level Elements of R.E.R., there are several biotopes that contribute to the same purpose: biodiversity sources. The inclusion within our project area of these biotopes such as the Lombardy wooden forest, the hygrophilous forest, typical vegetation of the wetlands, further the reeds, the rice fields and the agricultural fields will give to the site a high ecological value, in terms of faunistic and floristic value. The area will act as a second level element of R.E.R., able to offer an improvement of the green network design; a connecting stepping stone and a possible ecological connection between the primary elements.
The Forum, as in the historical Roman city, is placed at the intersection of the two axes that organize the project and connect the northern and southern entrances, designed as large squares in order to be a place of meeting and rest. The Forum, planned as a multifunctional space, has inside: the market area, a big roof structure with an external space (market square), that is used for selling local products at Km 0, a picnic area with food and social function, sport courts, playgrounds for children and rest areas. The area is then integrated with the ex Italian pavilion, converted as Expo Museum and the Lake Arena, as a memorial of Expo 2015.
The agricultural fields of Cascina Triulza are divided into: productive agricultural fields, given to the nearby Bollate Prison, and educational-productive agricultural fields. An interaction is also expected from citizens, of any age, with the aim of educating and making visitors aware of the correct practices of cultivation and respect of the agro-ecosystem, which was the dominant themes of Expo Milano 2015. It is not just urban gardens, but educational gardens on which the cooperation of the citizen will be based; direct and immediate experience on the topic of cultivation and nutrition. The foodstuffs obtained will go to supply the market placed in the Forum and will be sold as a zero kilometres biological product. The proximity of the rice fields and the Lombardian wooden forest will contribute to create a more heterogeneous landscape as for to transform the curiosity of the citizen into an interest, deepening and knowledge of the agricultural landscape and related agronomic practices. The presence in the area of sport courts and playgrounds for children is a further evidence that Parco Triulza has been designed as a unique and integrated system.
Food for thought
Parco Triulza is in the middle of an extensive process of urban regeneration and environmental and social quality improvement, able to transform the traditional concept of park (a green public area with a social purpose), into a more contemporary idea of a multi-purpose park, where social, environmental, recreational, sporting and educational activities are integrated within the same area. The choice of including productive activities also allows generating a financial income for the economic autonomy without burdening the local administrations too much, it also helps to make the park an “alive” place at any time of the day and in every season of the year defining new interrelations and compatibility. The park, therefore, becomes a redevelopment tool, a place where to increase and to claim back the environmental characteristics and guarantee to the project the spatial and functional quality and integration.
Enrico Marnati and Giulia Bassi
Enrico Marnati and Giulia Bassi met each other at the University of Genova (Italy) for a master’s degree in Landscape Architecture. Enrico has an agronomic background and got a bachelor degree from the Faculty of Agricultural and Food Sciences of the University of Milan; Giulia is an Environmental Architect from “Politecnico di Milano”. This combination of professions has been a key element, as well as a catalyst, for their thesis to be exhaustive and complete.
After graduating, Enrico qualified as a Landscape Architect and worked at GREENCURE Landscape & Healing Gardens. Giulia moved to Sydney (Australia) and now is working at NDRSN Architecture.