CRA-Carlo Ratti Associati and a team led by Australian real estate group Lendlease have imagined the new science campus of the University of Milan. The proposed project, a winning entry from the international competition will extend over 190,000 square meters and is due to open in 2025.
Serving almost 23,000 researchers and students specializing in natural and formal sciences at the University of Milan, the design of the newest campus addition is developed by CRA in collaboration with architect Italo Rota. “Exploring how a historical institution of higher education can be transformed for the digital age”, the winning proposal is located in the MIND-Milano Innovation District, an innovation park whose masterplan was also developed by CRA, on the site where Expo 2015 was held. Created around a network of green courtyards, a series of uninterrupted walking paths, and five brick buildings, the campus also encompasses a large central square with an adjacent lake.
Paying tribute to the central seat of the University of Milan, the Ca’ Granda, a 15th-century brick building designed by the Renaissance architect Filarete, the new structures will take on brick façades. Designed with an innovative construction technique, “with each brick individually positioned by a robotic arm and treated as a pixel within a large-scale bas-relief”, the composition will generate a three-dimensional tapestry with textual and visual content. In fact, the “Campus 2.0” reinterprets Filarete’s design principles, albeit with 21st-century digital technologies and new approaches to teaching and learning.
Recent data analyses of human interaction on academic campuses have shown that there is a direct correlation between the physical proximity of researchers and scientific output. […] In other words, human interaction is an essential component of the discovery process. The recent pandemic, which forced scholars to live and work for months on end in isolation, only reinforced the importance of physical space. Our ‘Campus 2.0’ design elaborates on Filarete’s thinking from almost 500 years ago to create a testing ground that will promote interaction among diverse communities. -- Carlo Ratti, founding partner of CRA and director of the Senseable City Lab at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
Featuring 100,000 square meters of greenery, including terraces and hypogeum gardens, showcasing the different landscapes from Northern Italy, the intervention puts in place also a public space, the "Common Ground", an uninterrupted set of walkways and crossings connect the buildings and meanders across courtyards. Allowing people to walk outdoors all year long, under a canopy or portico, over a length of more than 1,200 meters, the “Common Ground” addition continues inside the buildings, with an additional 800 meters.
Filarete’s utopia is often visualized with the eight-pointed star shape of Sforzinda, his ideal city. However, if you zoom in and take a closer look at the design, you can appreciate other compelling features. […] Filarete thought that architecture should focus on durability, simplicity, and affordable technical sophistication. He wanted his buildings to become the backdrop of a new humanism, blurring the boundaries between private and public spaces. At the new Campus in Milan, we strive to realize Filarete’s utopia, on the very site where six years ago, millions of people from all over the world met for the World Expo. -- Architect Italo Rota, the project's creative consultant.
- CRA-Carlo Ratti Associati produced the overall architectural concept for the real estate group Lendlease, and a task force whose member companies include Starching S.r.l. (Architectural Project), Manens-Tifs S.p.A. (Gardening Project), Redesco Progetti S.r.l (Structural Project), Emilio Pizzi Team Architects S.r.l. (Space Planning), Dr. Geol. Pietro Simone (Geological Report).
- Architectural concept: CRA-Carlo Ratti Associati
- Creative Consultancy: Italo Rota
- CRA Team: Carlo Ratti, Andrea Cassi (Project Manager), Saverio Panata, Matteo Zerbi, Chiara Morandini, Anna Morani, Nicola Scaramuzza, Mario Daudo, Jacopo Reale, Oliver Kazmir, Alessandro Tassinari, Samuel Colle Dominguez, Federico Riches, Andrea Giordano
- Renderings by CRA Graphic Team: Gary di Silvio, Pasquale Milieri, Gianluca Zimbardi