Project - In the history of our cities we can find a lot of different scenarios, which reveal the schizofrenic relationship of our built environment with nature. On the one hand cities are created to include nature employing the benefits of green spaces and using animals for our purposes, whereas on the other hand we need distance from it to be safe from its dangers and threats. Important contemporary personalities devoted themselves to this ambiguious topic thinking about possible scenarios: The Florentine artist Giacomo Costa, for instance, is convinced that nature always wins out over the artificial world conquering it ultimately. This is depicted in compositions like “Private Garden”.
The writer Italo Calvino on the other hand sees human kind able to choose about its ultimate fate: In his opinion we can choose to become a part of the surrounding hell we live in or to give more space to the things that we regard as worthy for ourselves. The Ecostructure takes up this thought stating that biodiversity is one of these non-hell-things which needs to be fostered in our cities. By implementing a new superimposed structure to the city of Milan the project enriches the biodiversity serving both men and animals likewise. Concept - The proposal for the Ecostructure is based on the believe that coexistence of men and nature can be achieved by the balance act between expedient proximity and indispensable distance by means of the superposition principle: human activities on the lower levels and habitats for animals on the upper ones where both spheres fade into each other.
The Ecostructure growes along a predetermined axis through Milan adapting to the given circumstances in the urban fabric, which can result in detachment but also in direct physical connection with existing buildings and public places. For this reason we employed the metaphor of the parasite that conqueres the space providing niches for biodiversity and human interaction. The mentioned axis which presets the route of the Ecostructure is derived from the idea to create an opposing system to the existing axis of Sempione, which represents a series of spaces and buildings in Milan that are related to the political past and the cultural presence of the city. Placing the Ecostructure perpendicularily to Sempione axis, the project urges, in contrast to the cultural axis, for a new idea of the city, which includes not only antropocentric considerations but also the aspect of biodiversity. The proposal comprises apart from the general rules for the parasite structure a series of spatial solutions for significant “foci” f.e. Piazza Duomo, Torre Galfa, Viale Luciano Gioa etc. along the new axis, that connects two important ecosystems of Milan - the Naviglio della Martesana and Naviglio Grande. These foci are the result of an extensive analysis which was conducted using indicators for antropocentric and biodiversity aspects in order to determine the qualities and deficits as well as the urge of intervention along the Ecostructure. Structure - The structure is based on one of the inherent systems of nature which although not ultimately explored serves as essence of natural growth - the fractale behavior. To be found in many organism on our planet a fractale is an object whose parts, at infinitely many levels of magnification, appear geometrically similar to the whole. Employing this principle of nature the Ecostructure is based on a repetitive system of steel frames and rigid nodes that follows the analogy of a tree to produce a system that dissolves skywards with branches that split according to the specific ratio of the Fibonacci series. In terms of featured functions the ecostructure hosts a broad range of activities serving animals, as well as men by means of four spatial modules, that are embedded into the general construction described above. These modules are: horizontal boards providing a ground to move, rest, sit etc.; shells to collect and contain water and soil; boxes giving shelter and protecting from the weather and finally the tube as a formal variant of the box allowing a better surface-volume ratio. Biodiversity - As an important feature of the project there is of course the aspect of biodiversity, which marks the coming together of plants, animals and humans. In terms of plants the idea is to use exclusively endemic plants that can generate an authentic environment for the arriving animals. The various levels and scales allow animals to choose among a big range of different habitats according to their size and prefered environment. Humans on the other hand have by nature a necessity for larger spaces and more elaborate accesses to ensure security etc. MF3A - Our design team is composed by a group of students from the masters programme at Politecnico di Milano, who started to work together at the Town Planning Design Studio of Professor Stefano Boeri. Coming from different backgrounds and experiences we see the design process as a continous discourse on contextual interferences between the project and the given environment. A resilient project, so we think, is achieved only by constant evaluation of different perspectives that go along with intensive communication. FRANZ BITTENBINDER, born in Ludwigshafen am Rhein (Germany), obtained his bachelor degree in architecture at the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology in Germany, studying as exchange student at the Universitat Politecnica de Catalunya in Barcelona. Having professional experience as intern at Herzog de Meuron and ArchiMed in Budapest, he is currently inscribed with a merit based scholarship at the master classes of the Politecnico di Milano. In addition he works for the editorial staff of theTomorrow, an online journal about the future of Europe. MATTIA DI CARLO, born in Prato (Italy), studied at the University of Florence, graduating with a bachelor degree obtaining 110/110 cum laude. Working as teaching assistant during several semesters, he furthermore got professional experience working for the architectural firm MDU architetti (Prato) and ARX associati (Florence). Currently he is a student of the masters programme of Politecnico di Milano, who was recently selected as exchange student for the international programme at the Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile. ALBERTO GIACOPELLI, born in Cirié (Italy), first studied Physical Engineering at Politecnico di Torino before his degree at the Politecnico di Milano in architecture. Honoured with a selected graduation work, he worked at the architecture office OBR (Milano), as well as in the position as freelance editor and photography supervisor at IoArch Font (Milan). Currently he is studying at the Politecnico di Milano to obtain his masters degree. ANDREA GOVI, born in Forlì (Italy), studied at the Politecnico di Milano, where he obtained his bachelor degree in architecture. Subsequently he worked among others for the urban planning office LAND (Milano), participating in a range of important international competitions. Being part of the master classes at the Politecnico di Milano he took part in workshops at the Columbia and the NYIT in New York and was selected for a placement at TU Delft, where is studying as exchange student. ANTONIO LA MARCA, born in Nola (Italy), obtained his bachelor degree at the Politecnico di Milano with 110/110 cum laude. Working among others for Cino Zucchi architects he is collaborating in an interior design company based in Napoli. As student of the masters programme of Politecnico di Milano he takes currently part in an exchange programme at the École polytechnique fédérale de Lausanne.