Scalo Bambini

Memories of Milan’s industrial past

The Milanese railway yards, including the Scalo Farini, played an important part in the construction of Milan as an industrial city. How can we prevent that current urban transformations erase all traces and memories of this important industrial past?

We suggest to preserve parts of the Scalo Farini in the form of a 2 hectare park and playground dedicated to children.

Precedent – Coram’s Fields in London

Coram’s Fields in Bloomsbury, London is a unique 2.8 hectare enclosed playground and park for children and young people living in or visiting London. Access is free. Adults are only permitted to enter if accompanied by children.

It includes a youth centre, a children’s centre, a community nursery for 30 children, a sports programme, a city farm, and a cafe. Coram’ Fields is funded by donations and fundraising. 

Italy’s demographic crisis

At less than 1.4 the fertility rate in Italy is among the lowest in Europe. It is far lower than the replacement rate which is 2.1. Also, the mean age of women at the birth of the first child is among the highest in Europe. Italy is heading for a demographical crisis.

France and the UK on the other hand have sustainable fertility rates and younger mothers. Italy has to improve the conditions for families and children. Urban planning and architectural design must contribute. New public spaces dedicated for children is an important and necessary means to improve the lives of Milanese families and children.

Scalo Bambini

Could Italy’s strong educational traditions such as the Reggio Emilia approach, the Montessori educational model, and Remida be revived and put to use to a larger extent? Close to the centre of Milan – within the Scalo Farini – we propose to establish the Scalo Bambini.The Scalo Bambini is offered to Milanese children. Free to use for everyone. Families in the weekends and afternoons, visiting nurseries from the neighbourhood, tourists in the summer. The Scalo Bambini includes playgrounds, a small nursery, a city farm with animals and vegetables, a cafe. Furthermore, a Remida centre, a children’s theatre, concerts, food festivals for children, and other cultural activities can be accomodated within the park.Financing may be based on the educational budgets of the municipality, corporate donors such as UniCredit or Telecom Italia, private fundraising, contributions from visiting nurseries, and fees received by the Scalo Bambini Nursery. Coram’s Fields is an important precedent both programmatically and financially.

Urban trigger

In Delirious New York, Rem Koolhaas outlines how Central Park was defined in 1853 to safeguard the area from construction. It is still there despite numerous efforts to build in the parks of New York. The transformation of Scalo Farini should also start with the establishment of a resilient public space, i.e. the Scalo Bambini.

Scalo Bambini will be positioned within the enclosed area in the south of Scalo Farini. This is where the railway tracks crossing Scalo Farini are at the narrowest. Only a short distance separates Scalo Bambini from Cimitero Monumentale.

Thus the Scalo Bambini forms a permanent public enclave deep within the abandoned railway yard, a nucleus that is supposed to attract kids and families, and hence to install the Scalo Farini as a specific place in the conscience of the Milanesi before other development starts in the area. It is supposed to influence and prepare for other urban interventions and transformation in Scalo Farini and the adjacent district.

Simultaneously, the rest of Scalo Farini, including its large logistical buildings, should be opened for public use. Potential uses include outdoor cinema, sports activities, outdoor concerts (perhaps organised by Alcatraz), festivals, street markets, fashion events, circus, go-cart track, and so forth. This would require only a minimum of investment and is based upon successful precedents such as the former Tempelhof airport in Berlin and events already organised by Gucci at Scalo Farini.

Finally, when the time is ripe, Scalo Farini may be developed into a normal urban district in Milan with the Scalo Bambini in its centre.

The architecture of the Scalo Bambini

The abandoned structures from the railway operation have a curious and potentially very beautiful atmosphere, especially within the walls of the future Scalo Bambini. It is a secret garden away from the city.

The existing structures will be repaired. New programme will be carefully assigned to each artifact resulting in a complete and wonderful park for children with a minimum of new construction.

The charming temple-like structure in the middle of the site will become a centre for diverse artistic and cultural activities for children such as Remida, theatre, concerts. There will be playgrounds, an orchard, a cafe. An existing house will be refurbished as a nursery for 30 children, another building will become a shelter for animals.



Olav Kristoffersen

Geir Brendeland


Borushko Mikhail
Capra Valentina
Casula Stefano
Chen Yuanxiang
Dalmasso Sofia
Firouzan Ala
Gloria Alessandro
Spinella Alberto
Tenan Massimo
Yang Yi

Andrea Pezzoli




From the inside looking out and the outside looking

Sites like the Farini Yards are familiar, as are the “who could argue with that?”
urban design straplines such as “vibrant town centres and green links” which are the precursor to the CGIs – indistinguishable from one project to another right across the world – of the masterplan vision.
The Farini Yards and what surrounds them are particular to themselves. The ease of the masterplanner’s felt pen with its confident arrows and scrawl can miss what is there in plain sight.
Methodology : A Brief Obedience
In the Principi e Indicatori, describing the ideals of connectivity, culture, green infrastructure, and resources, Milan (and these workshops) is urged to go further than clichés – multiple ambitions must be reconciled within density
of development.
There is always the danger of displacement of concerns and a deferral of
issues to these places which are not yet part of the city where, instead of addressing the tricky and political nature of the here and now, for example keeping production in the city or social stratification and isolation, an idealised versions of the city is projected to the place as yet undeveloped.
Through close looking at what is particular to the site, we can suggest how so-called temporary proposals can inscribe future uses both within the Farini Yards but also within “Milan itself”. Imagine the perimeter is an axis of reflection – for every condition we consider on the site we will look at the site itself through a series of companion spaces outside it.
We will be asking what one can get for the €3 000 000, gifted to us by this workshop brief. We will be describing different currencies of value, rates of exchange, rates of growth, modes of investment, quick wins and steady returns, momentary extravagance and incremental change .

Liza Fior_Biography

Liza Fior is founding Partner of muf architecture/art Projects range from masterplans to temporary interventions via landscapes and buildings – a continual dialogue between details and strategy, always with unsolicited research always in the public realm. muf are the only UK winners of the European Prize for Public Space (for Barking Town Square), and were the authors of the British Pavilion at the Venice Biennale in 2010, where they continue to collaborate with We are Here Venice. muf work mainly in East London but not exclusively, advocating the value of the existing in order to articulate the identity of the new.
muf architecture/art was established in 1995 and has never had less than 80% female members, including founding partners Katherine Clarke and Liza Fior.

Liza has taught at the AA, Yale, RCA and currently at CSM London.

Olav Kristoffersen_WS 05 A PARK IN SCALO FARINI

PDF Booklet > WS 05_Kristoffersen

We suggest that a public park should immediately be constructed in Scalo Farini. The park is supposed to attract kids and families, and hence to install the Scalo Farini as a specific place in the conscience of the Milanesi before other development starts in the area.

In Delirious New York, Rem Koolhaas outlines how Central Park was defined in 1853 to safeguard the area from construction. It is still there despite numerous efforts to build in the parks of New York.
We should attempt to establish a distinct public space that is resilient, that is an urban artifact. The park in the Scalo Farini should be defined in a very particular way to enable it to last and enable it to influence subsequent urban development in a beneficial manner.
Three important questions arise:
1. Where can this park be positioned within the Scalo Farini?
2. What can be the exact boundaries and shape of the new park?
3. How can we programme and design an attractive park that deals with the scale of the city?
Our goal at the end of the workshop might be to present a large model and drawing of the park.
To achieve our goal, we divide the studio into smaller teams which focus on different scales, aspects and components of the new Park for playing at the Scalo Farini. All bits and pieces should be coordinated to create a coherent and rich project.
Let’s identify our individual strengths as architects and use them in one common, collective project.

Ippolito Pestellini Laparelli_WS 06 TEMP

On (almost) traceless strategies and identities

PLOT: Panda, the ubiquitous controversial creative agency has been commissioned to strategize, plan, design, develop and brand a large temporary event at Scalo Farini in Milan.
Sponsored by the techno Italian giant Limitless the event is meant to celebrate urban and digital subcultures over a week of intense and unprecedented experiences.
Limitless – a leader in the sharing economy with headquarters in a former subway station in the outskirt of Milan – supports a new form of urban economy. It refused to launch a long term development plan for the area believing that the fluctuations of the current and future economy cannot be grasped by the fixed nature of architecture. The plans of Limitless will consist of an incremental system of short term, partially ephemeral interventions. They will not go on hold or be cancelled simply because there won’t be time to go on hold or be cancelled.
Through their plans for Scalo Farini, Limitless and Panda will replace the notions of development, program, and city, with the ideas of colonization, event and geography.
Panda will assemble a team of top class creatives and urban dreamers to start drafting a script for the area. The team will be composed by an international group of city planners, urban anthropologist, designers, communications gurus, economists, scientists, scenographers, theater and film makers.
Panda will reorganize the eclectic bunch into four main domains of actions: youth culture research, strategic master-plan, ephemeral design and communication strategy.
The ambitious group is asked to come up with a plausible plan in just less than 10 days.
Rumors suggest that the team will meet for its first brainstorm in the bunker room of the Politecnico of Milan on February 23rd 2017.


“Milano, il paradosso del cemento: invenduti la metà di case e negozi, ma si costruisce”

La Repubblica, 25 June 2014
(Milan, the concrete paradox: half of the shops and apartments are unsold, but they continue to be built)

Nomisma, 25 March 2015                                                                                                 Real Estate: eccess in the offer of offices around 80%, unsold since more than one year ago)

I costruttori adottano nuove strategie per combattere il male oscuro del mattone milanese:
52% di nuove abitazioni ancora in cerca di compratore nelle zone centrali, il 70% in periferia.
Milano Finanza, 01 January 2014
(Developers are adopting new strategies to fight the real estate milanese crisis: 52% of apartments in the center are still waiting for a buyer, 70% in the suburb)

Invenduta a Milano una casa su tre […] su un totale di 4184 appartamenti (il 34% tra City Life, Porta Nuova e Porta Vittoria), 1.400 sono quelli invenduti.
Corriere della Sera, 13 October 2016
(Unsold in Milan one house out of three […] out of 4184 apartments (of which 34% is from City Life, Porta Nuova and Porta Vittoria), 1400 are unsold.



Ippolito Pestellini Laparelli_Biography

Ippolito Pestellini Laparelli joined OMA in 2007 and is based in Rotterdam. A partner since
2014, Ippolito’s work at OMA/AMO has a focus on preservation, scenography, and curation.
Projects led by Ippolito include the renovation of Kaufhaus des Westens (KaDeWe) in Berlin (ongoing); Panda, an exhibit for the 2016 Oslo Triennale; the transformation design of the 16th century Fondaco dei Tedeschi in Venice (2016); the design of Repossi’s flagship store on Place Vendôme in Paris (2016); Monditalia, a multi-disciplinary exhibition focused on Italy, at the 2014 Venice Architecture Biennale; scenography for the Greek theater of Syracuse in Sicily (2012); and the co-curation of Cronocaos, OMA’s exhibition on preservation at the 2010 Venice Architectural Biennale. Through collaborations with different brands including Repossi, Galleries Lafayette, Knoll, and Prada his activity extends to research, product design, temporary installations, and publications. Since 2010, Ippolito is responsible for a range of AMO projects with Prada, including the stage design for the brand’s fashion shows and special events, and the art direction of videos. He contributes to exhibition design for Fondazione Prada, with projects such as When Attitudes Become Form: 1969/2013 and Serial Classics (2015). Ippolito holds a Master of Architecture from the Politecnico di Milano.

Luis Basabe Montalvo_Biography

PDF Program > WS 02

Founding patner of ARENAS BASABE PALACIOS arquitectos, an international firm based in Madrid, in which innovative, democratic and ecological concepts are developed for extreme forms of contemporary urbanity all around the world. Their work has achieved several international distinctions, such as the HOLCIM AWARD BRONZE 2014 or the EUROPAN Competition, in which they have been awarded six times since 2005. It has also been presented, published and exhibited in Germany, Austria, UK, France, Switzerland, Cyprus, Korea, India, Russia, Italy and Spain.
Associated Professor at the ETSAM-UPM in Madrid, and has been guest lecturer amongst other institutions at the University of Cambridge, CEPT University of Ahmedabad, and Uni Stuttgart. In 2014 he has held the Visiting Professorship “Contemporary City” at Politecnico di Milano.

Luis Basabe Montalvo_WS 02 WHO MAKES THE CITY?

Ex-Scalo Farini: the game.

An attempt to modelize complex processes of urban production in different scales, taking into account their multiple players, and focusing on the actions and processes rather than on the objects and results.

Research Theme

Negotiating the city
+ DIFFERENT VALUES AND INTERESTS coexist in urban production, and trace often divergent and even contradictory development trails for the city. Speculators, squatters, activists, politicians, homeowners, investors, minorities, or just citizens, are simultaneously the motor of urban transformation. And it is precisely this inherent contradiction that builds urbanity’s main characteristic: its complexity.
+ AN AUTHENTIC BATTLEFIELD, on which institutions, investors and civil society fight fiercely for the most divergent interests, appears clearly in such central locations as Scalo Farini. The proximity of consolidated centralities makes such sites highly desirable for all urban players, who look forward to materializing their respective values and visions in the city. Different factions of capital, politics and institutions try to spatialize their power projects, but also disempowered citizenship and democracy have a chance to flourish in this process.

Continue reading

MIAW 2017_Friday 24 February


9.15 Aula III B
Lectures by

Antonella Bruzzese The Urban Frame

Gaia Piccarolo Meteo Milano

Nina Bassoli The Great Void. Scalo Farini

Maite García Sanchis Milano Verde


14.15  via Valtellina 7

Survey of Ex Scalo Farini with Paola Tessitore

MIAW 2017_Thursday 23 February


17.30 Aula Rogers


Ilaria Valente
Dean of the School of Architecture Urban Planning Construction Engineering

Michele Silvers Award Ceremony
PechaKucha presentations of final selected entries
Keynote lecture
Robert Jan Van Pelt The Evidence Room

MIAW 2017 Introduction
Brief on WS organisation

19.00 Welcome Cocktail


After a decade of huge transformations on the immediate outskirts of Milan’s city centre the reflection in city planning for the upcoming years will inevitably focus on “how to deal” with the large voids of the railroad yards. In a city characterized by the extreme compactness of the urban fabric and by its strict radial logistics, these huge voids represent exceptions of unusual dimension and geometry, suggesting the possibility for radically alternative forms of urbanity as well as posing the challange for their succesful and fruitful integration.
With its 600,000 square meters Scalo Farini is the largest of seven dismantled yards scattered around Milan – Farini, Romana, Genova, San Cristoforo, Greco, Lambrate and Rogoredo – and surely the most significant of these voids, not just for its scale but also for its strategic location. Crossing many of the most distinctive neighborhoods of the Northwestern quadrant of Milan – Mac Mahon, Certosa, Valtellina – the railway yard of Scalo Farini stretches from the formerly industrial district of Bovisa to the recently transformed neighborhoods of Isola and Garibaldi-Repubblica.

Continue reading


Ex-scalo Farini: urban/architectural/landscape strategies for a resilient Milano

“There are things that I do not like in this world, I could be ironic, but I am very careful no to be”

[Guido Guidi]

This design workshop encourages a role for architects as operative strategic figures aiming to integrate complex systems, competing needs and seemingly polarized aims, therefore leading to innovative and provocative combinations of program, siting, and built form where outcomes can be far reaching, addressing issues beyond the traditional domain of the building and/or individual object. How and where people live, work, produce their food, share community activities, participate into the world from their specific places and how these solutions interact with the natural environment must be re-thought to combine sustainable social and environmental solutions. These issues land at the feet of traditional concerns of architecture: land use and urbanization, big and small systems and relationships. What role can architecture play?
Continue reading

Mauro Baracco_Biography

Mauro Baracco is a practising architect and a director of Baracco + Wright Architects (B+W), Melbourne, Australia. He graduated from Turin Polytechnic and has a PhD in architecture from RMIT University where he is an Associate Professor of Architecture and Urban Design in the School of Architecture and Design. He was formerly the Deputy Dean of Landscape Architecture (2013-2015) and is currently the Deputy Dean of International – both at RMIT University. Mauro is a member of RMIT’s School of Architecture and Design executive committee and d___Lab/Centre for Design Practice Research through which he leads consulting projects in partnership with industry and government bodies, some of which undertaken in collaboration with international architecture schools and cultural institutions, including the School of Architecture, Urban Planning and Construction Engineering of Milan Polytechnic where in 2016 he was invited to lead a Master design studio focused on the urban regeneration of the town of Imperia, Liguria, Italy. His research is focused on urban resilience through cross-programming and integration of open and built space, spanning from large/territorial to small/acupuncture scales. Mauro’s projects and writing have been widely published in books and journals (Domus, Abitare, Casabella, A+U, Transition, Architecture Australia among others), exhibited and awarded, and presented at conferences and symposia, both nationally and internationally

Oliver Thill_Biography

Oliver Thill (Karl-Marx-Stadt – East Germany, 1971) studied at the TU Dresden in Germany.
He is a founding partner of the Rotterdam based firm Atelier Kempe Thill, which he directs together with André Kempe since 2000. The office has currently about 25 employees and is working on a variety of public building projects in the Netherlands, France, Germany, Belgium, Austria, Switzerland and Morocco. The office has received several international awards among the Bauwelt Prize (2003), Detail Award (2005+2009), Rotterdam – Maaskant Prize (2005), AM-NAi Award, NL (2010), the Dutch Architect of the year award, NL (2011) and the Ugo Rivolta Award (2013). In 2012 the German publisher HatjeCantz published the first monograph about the work of the office. In 2017 HatjeCantz published the book “Atelier Kempe Thill – Villa Urbaine”.

Oliver Thill has been engaged as studio master at the Delft University of Technology, the Academie van Bouwkunst in both Arnhem and Rotterdam and the Berlage Institute
Rotterdam and Delft. He has been an invited professor at the EPF Lausanne and the PBSA Düsseldorf. Currently he teaches together with André Kempe as a professor at the TU Berlin.

Oliver Thill has given more than 100 public lectures worldwide. He was a board member
of the Jaap Bakema Foundation Rotterdam en writes on a regular basis for the European architecture magazine “San Rocco”. Currently he is member of the advisory board of the Academie van Bouwkunst Rotterdam.

Tom Holbrook_WS 04 ENTREPRENEURIAL CITY / La Città Innovatore

Cities and their hinterlands are critical engines of national economies – more agile and able to control their environment than the nation state. Milan – Italy’s economic driver – is clearly one of Europe’s prime cities with a vast and interdependant productive hinterland. At the crossroads of Europe, the city has key strategic connections to global trade.

The idea of the nation state – seemingly in decline since the second half of the last century – has recently found new vigour. With the reappearance of Nationalism, progressive urban areas have found themselves on the defensive as the hinterland votes for protectionist trade rules and insularity. In contrast to this introspection, China has been exploring a reinstatement of the ancient Sino-European Silk Road. Last month a freight train completed the 12,000km journey from east China’s Yiwu City to London.
Continue reading

Tom Holbrook_Biography

Tom Holbrook came to architecture tangentially, co-founding 5th Studio in 1997 as a spatial design agency, working across the fields of architecture, urban design, infrastructure and landscape.

Tom completed a PhD at RMIT in 2014. His thesis – Expanding Disciplinarity in Architectural Practice: Designing From the Room to the City – was published by Routledge in 2016, and proposes a generalist approach to architectural practice.

In combination with practice, Tom is Professor of Architecture and Industry Fellow at RMIT University, based in Melbourne & Barcelona, and he directs the Urban Studies programme at the London School of Architecture. Tom taught for ten years at the University of Cambridge Department of Architecture and has been an external examiner at London Metropolitan University and the MARCH school, Moscow.

Tom also contributes to teaching at the London School of Economics Cities Programme and at Central St Martins; he regularly contributes critical writing and opinion to a variety of media. Tom is a member of the Design Panel for High Speed Two, – the UK’s high speed rail project – and for the London Olympic Legacy Development Corporation.

Milano Farini Rail Yard


Just Like Starting Over
Since 2014, every Miaw edition focused on a specific area, theme or question related with the architectural and urban transformation of Milan, so that the outcoming projects were a relevant contribution for a vision of the future city.
In this edition 2017, Miaw studios will concentrate around a strategic urban area, the Farini rail yard (about 618.000 sqm) which, in the next future, will be abandoned by the railways state company and converted to urban usages.
In these months, there is an ongoing large discussion about Farini and other minor six rail yards in Milan, a total area of 1.250.000 sqm, and the railways company is now running a private consultation asking five architects to investigate possible future urban scenarios for these seven sites.
Considering size, complexity and the long lasting of the full urban transformation of Farini, we address the Miaw studios to think of pioneering projects which can start, but not complete, the site’s recovering. We think of projects which can explore and reveal new possibilities and scenarios, without, because this is the state of the art, any general layout.
Continue reading

MIAW2017 – visiting professors and themes

MIAW 2017 23FEB-4MAR 2017
PDF General Program

WS 01 – Aula O.2
Mauro  Baracco
PDF Program > WS 01

WS 02 – Aula III.A
Luis Basabe Montalvo
PDF Program > WS 02

WS 03  – Aula Z.1
Liza Fior
PDF Program > WS 03

WS 04  – Aula O.2.1
Tom Holbrook
PDF Program > WS 04

WS 05  – Aula III.D
Olav Kristoffersen
PDF Program > WS 05

WS 06  – Aula O.1
Ippolito Pestellini Laparelli
PDF Program > WS 06

WS 07  – Aula III.C
Oliver Thill
PDF Program > WS 07