The project was opened to the public in Autumn 2020 during the COVID-19 Pandemic, when a large part of Northern Italy was subject to restrictive measures that severely limited the use of public open spaces. Emphasized by the emergency, the project demonstrates the importance and urgent need of active public spaces in local communities. By enhancing the conditions for rarified -yet crucial- encounters, the project creates the much-needed opportunity for basic interactions between people, which are crucial for a healthy urban society.
Desio is a city located about 10 km north of Milan that has pledged to transform its car-oriented city center into a pedestrian/cyclist-oriented space. Vehicular access has been limited and “30km/h zones” have been established throughout the city. These changes have centered the public space structure around slow mobility.
Our design interventions consists of three public spaces that vary in shapes and sizes, reflecting the complex palimpsest of the Desio historical center. In these pocket spaces, sensitive adoption of traditional pavement materials and patterns strategically blend the design with the rich mineral context, while actively and passively prioritizing pedestrian users over cars.
Simple design solutions rendered in stone, wood and water avoid a rigid and over-programmed approach by favoring an informal and flexible use of public spaces. Elements such as grand-stands and water-jets function as over-scaled activators of the different spaces, which are conceived as programmable platforms that welcome unexpected encounters.
The new Loreto is based on 5 strategic and planning actions aimed at deeply reorganising the Piazzale and making it a meeting area for the district, a commercial and pedestrian area and a green junction of the city’s ecological infrastructure.
1. Vehicle traffic, from central to peripheral. Limit vehicular traffic to the perimeter of the square
2. From Piazzale to Piazza. An open square at mezzanine level (-3.5m)
3. Retail: commercial mix and vitality of the square. Program the perimeter of the mezzanine with commercial functions
4. A Green Ring. An area in continuity with the urban ecological infrastructure affecting the area
5. The square: sports, game and events. A square for the neighbourhoods, multifunctional and programmable
The new Loreto will become a hinge, a spatial and programmatic overlap of different identities: a common square shared by the varied population of that portion of Milan, a space of encounter and diversity.
Piazzale Loreto will become a “piazza”, a platform for citizens, experienced through a wide range of spontaneous and organised activities
The new Piazza is created by eliminating part of the current slab, at street level, thus transforming the current mezzanine into an open space at -3.5 meters, defined on the perimeter by a new commercial program.
The “Parco del Ponte” is not a single park: the park is made up of five distinct parks that alternate and intertwine, responding to the articulated complexity of Polcevera Valley. The project responds to the different -rather conflicting- identities of the valley, proactively avoiding any forced simplification which wouldn’t pay respect to the multiple souls of the site and the city. The community, the river, the industry, the railway and the hills are the elements that emerge as layers of a juxtapose palimpsest of a valley that has been and -must continue to be- one of the main driving forces of a city that seeks re-birth.
The “Parco del Ponte” is a large-scale urban strategy that proposes to intervene in the urban fabric with micro-interventions in order to generate a new urban structure centered around public space and ecology.
A thoughtful approach that addresses a bottom-up multi-folded strategy which complements the necessary top down approach of the infrastructural reality of the valley.
The project responds to the different -rather conflicting- identities of the valley, proactively avoiding any forced simplification which wouldn’t pay respect to the multiple souls of the site and the city
The project doesn’t challenge nor mimic the large-scale infrastructure of the new bridge but -rather, it looks downwards at the intimate human scale of the district life
The “Parco del Ponte” are an opportunity to consolidate a fragile territory by stabilizing hilly slopes, reducing river flood hazard and reclaiming a soil that has been polluted by the presence of over a century of massive industrial production.
The “Parco del Ponte” has the potential to revive the industrial identity by directing it towards small and medium-sized high-tech companies and thus catalyze the many research realities present in the territory.
Openfabric has been selected to design the public spaces of Mantova city center in occasion of the first World Forum on Urban Forest (WFUF 2018) by FAO. The aim of the design is to engage with the two different levels of the forum: the academic one and the broad public. The project wants to critically represent a number of forest typologies rising both awareness on the importance of nature in urban environments and on the dramatic effects of climate change. Through the tools of ambiguity, juxtaposition, aesthetics and discomfort, Into the Forest aims to challenge the perception of nature and aspires to be adopted by cities, globally.
“Fallen Forest” is a memorial for the millions of trees victims of the cyclone that hit the North-Eastern regions of Italy on November 2nd, 2018. The installation confronts the phenomena of climate tropicalisation and its catastrophic effects on the environment, by recreating a portion of post-apocalyptic landscape. Climate change is real, action is urgent.
The Mediterranean sclerophyllous evergreen oak forest shapes the character of Mediterranean landscapes with a wide variety of formations and structures, according to climate, soil, and anthropogenic conditions. The dominant tree species are Quercus ilex, Quercus rotundifolia, Quercus suber, Laurus nobilis and Arbutus unedo, the latter two having rather often a shrub growth form. The evergreen oak woodlands have been a strategic resource along the history of human societies in the region, providing direct and indirect goods and benefits, as fuelwood, cork, food and fodder, timber, shelter. They range from sea level up to 800-900 a.s.l. and the tree and shrub species are generally very well drought- and fire-adapted.
The “Native Forest” recalls a fragment of the ancient forest formations widely covering the Po Valley (Pianura Padana) before the massive transformation to agriculture and urban land cover. In fact large part of Northern Italy was very likely covered by lowlands forests dominated by Quercus spp. and Carpinus betulus, referring to Sub-Atlantic and medio-European oak or oak-hornbeam forests of the Carpinion betuli, as classified by the European manual of habitats. The forests currently survive only in few, small patches, protected as nature reserves. The lowlands forests, although almost disappeared, should be considered for their strategic environmental value, as an intangible heritage of natural and cultural capital of local communities.
The jury -led by arch. Alessandro Marata- has awarded our “Into the Wild” project with the 1st prize, in the category “City Play: play and sport areas in the landscape”.
With the motivation: “an harsh and severe urban void, unfolds into a public space, playful in its forms, colors and vegetation. The project defines a new topography dedicated to play that involves the local residents, defining a new identity for the neighborhood.”
Original text (Ita): “un vuoto urbano, anonimo e severo, esplode in uno spazio pubblico giocoso, nelle forme, nelle scelte cromatiche e vegetazionali. Il progetto disegna una nuova topografia dedicata al gioco
che coinvolge nel suo uso gli abitanti, definendo l’identità del quartiere stesso.”
Between 5th and 9th May, 2017, we have carried out a workshop within the framework “ConnectingCity | Mediterranean Landscapes and UrbanLab” (an itinerant landscape and architecture lab that aims to discover and link the multiple identities of Mazara del Vallo, a city in the middle of the Mediterranean where stories and culture, landscapes and architecture meet).
Our scope is to re-imagine the railway corridor, once the train traffic will be moved North, overcoming a great amount of urban and social issues generated by the infrastructure which literally cuts the city in 2 halves.
Our proposal, starts from the unique character of the city: a multicultural city worldwide renown for the fishing industry and its agricultural inland. By reinterpreting the main features of Mazara del Vallo in a new-linear public space that provides the value of privacy that both the local and the Arabic culture share, in one truly Mediterranean intervention.
The blue line is a theme that connects a number of projects of the office, investigating how Openfabric approaches water-related project. From small scale re-use of old traditional water systems, up to rivers and large scale port areas.
Bridging Territories: ‘Landscapes are often linked to each other in a system of interdependency. Cities for instance depend on a number of ecosystem services which are generated far from the urban centers themselves. Openfabric aim is to reconnect theses usually disconnected territories, both physically and psychologically. Understanding the relation between territories in terms of system of dependency is crucial to generating responsible plans and strategies that can take in account complex dynamics of cause and effect’.
In order to narrate the environmental and cultural heritage of this part of Cilento, there is a need to follow the traces of who has crossed these mountains. From the Shepherds, with the transhumance – the archetype of each trail, the landscape has been crossed by invisible lines marked by brigants, pilgrims, travelers, and now, tourists. For each of these categories the Jazzis -stone barns built by the shepherds- have represented and continue to represent dots to join, moments of rest in the experience of walking.
‘Songlines Cilento’ wants to give voice to the travelers that over time, have le traces of their cultural identity on these landscapes. Our proposal aims to give voice to the sound of their footsteps, their stories, their traditions, proposing the re-use and re-functionalization of two Jazzi and the definition of new thematic routes.
These wanderers, making up a predominately rural civilization, have passed down their knowledge orally for generations. It is crucial now to search for these traditions to save them from oblivion and so it is necessary to start from the ancient knowledge to be able to innovate and look to the future in continuity with the past.
The rural civilizations have passed on their tradition orally, between generation. Such proposal seeks for traces, knowledge, savoir-fair and traditions to bring them back to life, and therefore protect them from oblivion
The operational, management, and finances are shared in between the different partners and local organizations that deal with tourism promotion, culture and gastronomy.
Open Kitchen. Flavors are the protagonists of Jazzo Cupi Valleys. The unique products of these territories are an expression of local biodiversity, which needs to be preserved. Similarly, traditional techniques, savoir -aire, and recipes, also part of the oral tradition, need to be recovered before they are lost. The Jazzo Cupi Valli host an ‘Open Kitchen’, powered by renewable energy sources, that can be used to organize classes and traditional cuisine workshops. In the absence of organized events the open kitchen is open to travelers, used by those who, in passing, will stay in the Jazzo and where they may be closer to traditional culinary knowledge through practice. The Jazzo, the exterior portion of the structure, is occupied by a garden where the rarest plant species, most in need of protection, are harvested.
Library of Voices. Rural civilizations have handed down their knowledge orally for generations. It is important now, to search for these traditions to save them from oblivion. To do this it is necessary to start with ancient knowledge to be able to innovate and look to the future in continuity with the past. The Jazzo of Cropana is dedicated to sounds, voices. In the inner part is the ‘Library of Voices’ a collection and research accessible space of the oral traditions of the different local cultures in the form of fairy tales, songs, and poems; the same space are exposed and usable, the typical musical instruments of the shepherds, such as the bagpipes. The external part instead is characterized by a ‘sound park’, made up of installations (using natural materials) to recreate the sounds of local ecosystems and to amplify existing sounds, given the natural context.
Med.Net 03 Forum, ADD organizes two days of scientific and creative meeting and exchange dedicated to promote a strategic vision about the theme of “resilience” and its innovative approach.
“The Resili(g)ence meeting proposes to combine “Intelligent Cities” (information, knowledge, projection and adaptation) and “Resilient City” (resistance and recycling, reaction and recovery, renovation and adaptation) in a new sensory condition, sensorized and time sensitive.”
The Trentino young architects association (AgaTN) has invited Openfabric, alongside other young emerging practices, to showcase realised projects in the form of panels, in the streets of Trento.
The three offices took part of a lecture series and roundtables to discuss the challenges of the practices in Italy and abroad, bringing examples of projects characterized by a successful process that lead to their realization.
The science park is a campus that will be located in the proximity of Italy’s National Deposit of nuclear waste, which will host the waste produced daily in the country by industries, medical centers, and research institutes. The location, thought, has not yet been defined, meaning that our project should be adaptable to different conditions and flexible to different landscape typologies. Working on the italian context gives us extra responsibility, as the italian agro-landscape is of great importance to national heritage.
The campus establishes new relation of mutual interest and inter-dependence by binding human settlement with sustainable exploitation of ecosystem services generated by the rural context.
At the same time, reckless urbanization, if not downright illegal buildings, defaced this heritage making the ‘Bel Paese’, for large part a continuous ‘widespread’ city where the net boundary between town and country, the main quality of historic towns, has vanished. Our plan has the ambition of creating a new model of urban development in rural areas that can serve as an example. Starting with the urban vision carried out by the English Garden City movement lead by Ebenezer Howard at the end of 1800s, the design shares some of the movement’s principles, but takes into consideration the strong criticism that the movement has received over time. We made a move away from the very reasons that dragged the Garden City to a generic suburban ‘green’, which has lost over time its theoretical force, to propose a post-rural approach. An approach that is not an undefined hybrid between the two conditions urban-rural, but a defined system that establishes a new relationship between the urban area (the Science Park) and the rural areas. The relationship is one of mutual interest and inter-dependence, binding human settlement with sustainable exploitation of ecosystem services generated by the rural context. The proposed Science Park is a new urban model that has as its main objective the preservation of Italian landscape heritage and indissolubly binds technological development to a sustainable use of natural resources.
‘Sprawl’ is the product of the ‘diffuse city’. It is the endless built space that has blurred the division between city and countryside, redefining cities as metropolitan areas. In the medieval city, for example, this separation was defined by city walls that divided the inhabited areas from the countryside serving as defence from foreign attacks. In our project we apply the same principle of the ‘functional limit’ which the purpose clearly not being for defence, but rather to satisfy the need for infrastructures and sustainable mobility.
The Science Park is conceived at the center of a network that links research institutes, the university and industries in a system of mutual benefit. Priority will be given to the companies dealing with renewable energy production.
The park is, though, in close proximity to, and will develop strong relationships with, the surrounding areas in which it will be located in order to become a driver of innovation far beyond its borders. The nearby cities and villages will take advantage of and benefit from the Science Park through job creation and improvement of (mobility) infrastructures.
Reduce, reuse, recycle.
Each company located in the Science Park will produce a programmatic document to reduce CO2, employ energy saving measures, and develop a system to create awareness and training courses for employees, including classes and incentives.
‘It Doesn’t Take Much!’ workshop aims to prove how minimal interventions can change the perception of spaces and the their usability and how we can trigger spontaneous use of the space with low-cost and easy to implement measures. The workshops intent is to directly intervene in the public space of the historical center of Genova, observing and documenting with documentary film technique, how the interventions effect people’s behaviours.
‘Parco+, an urban park for Villa Croce’ is a design workshop that was held in Genoa, Italy, between the 22 and 26 September 2014.
A series of conferences and lectures have been integral part of the workshop. Guests have deepen into their experience in art, architecture and landscape; amongst others: Francesco Garofalo and Barbara Costantino (Openfabric, Rotterdam), Valter Scelsi (Scuola Politecnica di Genova), Alberto Gianfreda (Accademia di Brera), Stefano larotonda (USI-Mendrisio), il collettivo ICAR65, Luca Bochicchio (Ph.D, storico dell’arte contemporanea e curatore), Splace (Genova), Luca Depietri (Pro-Helvetia, Locarno), Paolo Basso (D’Appolonia, Genova), Anna Martinelli (Italfim, Bergamo)
Inverse Urbanism is a strategy that aims to address the post-expo without arbitrarily imposing the program; accepting the indeterminacy of the future of the area is essential to envision new scenarios. The goal is to create fields of potentials that like magnetic fields are able to attract quality investments and sustainable development. A grid of paths, that follows the Expo structure of the Cardo and Decumano, overlaps with 5 defined areas where a variety of natural processes are activated. Those natural processes define through time 5 different ecosystems: forest ecosystem, wetland ecosystem, agriculture ecosystem, landfill ecosystem and vacant ecosystem. The ecosystems and the grid weave a new urban fabric that doesn’t impose itself over the uncertain future of the area but generate a multitude of possible scenarios, where the program is linked to the sustainable exploitation of ecosystem services. Inverse Urbanism propose a symbiotic city model where nature is not only seen as romantic neo-pastoral landscape nor as a mere ecological network but rather becomes integral part of a new system where city and nature are inseparably linked by mutual benefit and dependence.
EXPOST 2030, the ecosystems attract a variety of program.
A Flexible System that Frames the Development through Time. A. 2016 Traces, B. 2016 The framework: five ecosystems and the grid, C. 2020. Pilot projects to lead the urban process, . 2030. EXPOST, Possible Scenarios
The Ecosystems and the Grid are the Matrix to Actively Address Programmatic Indeterminacy and Generate a Range of Possible Future Scenarios: Wetland Ecosystem, Landfill Ecosystem, Agriculture Ecosystem, Forest Ecosystem, the Vacant Ecosystem, the Landfill Ecosystem
The University of Genoa has invited us to lecture about our experience in the market as a young office. By describing our business model, the markets in the different countries we are working in and our projects, we gave an overview of what Openfabric did in its first 3 years and the direction we intent to overtake for the coming times.
New Generations Festival invited professionals from all over the world to Florence in order to re-think the boundaries of our profession. A variety of topics related to the future of architecture have been discussed through lectures, debates, workshops and pecha-kutchas. Openfabric has participated to several initiatives of the festival.
The journey begins with the ‘case’ of Milan which has been used as an example of “laboratory of the modern”, whose architectonic and city planning affairs of the last 100 years – but also several key moments in its past history – demonstrate the particular means employed by projects with a large transformative role compared to the pre-existing urban structure. From historical Milan to the city that hosts Expo 2015, an example of great territorial transformation over recent years which will be observed in its various content and present and future developments.
Expo 2015 – a laboratory for the environment
This section presents the work-in-progress of the 2015 Expo in Milan.
In “2030 EXPOst”, some young architects envisage possible future metamorphoses of the area of the Expo after the conclusion of the world’s fair.
‘Il Sabato del Paesaggio’ is an international cycle of conferences held in Verona, that brings together people of the Landscape Architecture environment. Openfabric has been invited in May 2015 to showcase the latest office projects in the framework of the best >36yo NIB award.
Openfabric has been invited to lecture and to debate on the topics of how the financial crisis affected our profession.
The main objective of the New Generations Festival in Milan is to create the conditions for a real encounter that is extremely important to improve bonding and collaboration among different professionals.
The new Generations research analyzes the impact of the financial crisis on young European architects, with a series of video interviews to a selection of 36 young architectural practices.
Nib Under36 award is a national prize given to emerging practices dealing with Landscape Architecture and public space design. Openfabric has been awarded in the 2013 edition, the ceremony took place in Salerno, Italy. The complete list of awarded offices is the following: 1.Ciclostile Architettura 2.Bam! 3.Openfabric 4.Temporaryin 05.Twentytrees 06.Ekp2088 07.Laprimastanza 08.Near 09.Merci 10.Nove.Architetti
The project “Living in the City in the City” is the outcome of the international design competition organized by the Municipality of Genoa for the enhancement of Via XX Settembre. The elimination of private traffic on Via XX Settembre becomes an opportunity for Genoa to create new places to live in the city within the city, generating urban gravitations and reverberating existing functions in the neighbourhood. In addition to rethink the system of mobility referring to functional and logistical requirements of traders and residents, the project produces a system of urban relationships stretched on the axis of Via XX Settembre, through a series of new polarities detected at the cross-roads, developing three themes: Culture – Information – Meeting. The idea of the project promotes a strong sense of self-identification by the Genoese, recovering the essential meaning of living seen as taking care of their city. As the inhabitant lives his own home, so the citizen lives his own city: Via XX Settembre becomes the “urban living-room” where a renewed community can share their own identities. In this sense the project fosters a process of urban renewal with expanded benefits on the body of the city (in terms of real estate development also), rediscovering Via XX Settembre as a very urban place, with strong environmental and social values.
Social gravities are a variety of attractions spread along the boulevard. They are gathering points for people and their influence is reflected in the design which unfolds and adapt accordingly. Stages, wi-fi areas, benches and bus stops are just few of the ‘episodes’ that will re-activate the central pedestrian axis.
Selected from hundreds of submissions, our project was built in one of the most famous European floral festivals: Euroflora2011. Our choice was to create a dynamic design by realizing a platform where visitors could directly take part in the creative phase of a project, proposing their own design.
The platform is a square of 13×13 pixels characterized by species of lettuce, which vary in colour and texture. These are contained in boxes of perforated PVC, recycled from big advertising banners, useful in its function for the strength and versatility to drain rainwater. Everyone moving the boxes can create the patterns they want and the outcome is continued interaction of visitors. The result is a project changing over time, never static, but rather a meeting point for the game and cooperation. The perforated PVC box is currently evolving to become a design object.
The PVC containers for the plants are all made by reusing the plastic material of the advertisement banners. The making of a planter is very easy; the only needed tools, besides the PVC, are a knife, a ruler and a staple machine.
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