SON Cascina San Carlo | B22

Center for Mental Fragility Milan / Italy / 2022

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The SON center for mental fragility, located in the outskirts of Milan, consists of a cluster of housing and social services, distributed within two residential buildings and a pavilion for civic and public activities. Moreover, the project includes the refurbishment of Cascina San Carlo – a building dating back to 1915 – and the redevelopment and expansion of the adjacent public park.


Two new buildings accommodate the apartments for parents with children affected by mental fragility. On the ground floor, bright rooms characterized by large windows open onto the surrounding green spaces. On the first floor, the project provides rooms illuminated by large skylights oriented towards the park, intended to house dwellers in support of the families.


The existing building and the new pavilion host two associations for the promotion of activities with social vocation and a room–equipped with a cooking laboratory–for both public activities and private gatherings. Finally, as part of the intervention, a new orchard was included in the design of the garden, and an abandoned area of ​​public property was reclaimed and planted.


The buildings and the landscape dialogue with the historical signs and paths present in this fragment of the city, with the aim of creating an inclusive environment, but also a discreet landmark which, during the night, like a lantern, becomes visible to the neighbourhood.


The relationship between living spaces and natural elements – the light, the landscape, the passage of time and the seasons – is at the core of the physical and social project. Materials, shapes, and colours are the result of a careful research on the domesticity of the place, extended to the perceptive aspects linked to cognitive fragilities.


The intervention – subject of a specific urban planning agreement with the public administration – is carried out within the framework of the law "Dopo di noi", that protects the rights of people with disabilities left without family support, and it is entirely financed by private donations and fundraising.


 


Sustainability:


Tthe project regenerates a degraded area, a remnant of previously unfinished land transformation activities. In the first phase of the project, approximately 1,200 square metres of publicly owned land that had been abandoned for decades were regenerated: during the reclamation activities, the land was treated to remove and dispose of Eternit fragments, waste and other rubble. In addition, in the Cascina areas, materials containing asbestos and man-made glass fibres were cleared and disposed of, a disused cistern and hydrocarbon-contaminated soils were removed, and a number of artefacts in an advanced state of decay were demolished.


Moreover, during the design phase, great attention was paid to issues such as social inclusion and the relationship with the neighbourhood, energy and environmental sustainability, and the design of the plant and built landscape. In carrying out the project, 39 new trees of various species were planted, following a careful landscape and agronomic study, and more than one hundred low-maintenance shrubs: the project was also modified during construction to preserve two pre-existing trees, spontaneous vegetation that had sprung up on the edge of the areas to be reclaimed, which were cleared of pests and suitably pruned to ensure their future growth.


Finally, the project envisaged the use of carefully chosen materials for the façades - face brick, stone and plaster - capable of guaranteeing low maintenance and high thermal efficiency over time. The technical solutions adopted provide for high energy efficiency both in the new buildings and in the recovered Cascina building, where significant seismic improvements have been made along with energy upgrading through internal thermal insulation. The entire complex is served by a single cooling/heating plant, powered by two wells that exploit the geothermal energy provided by groundwater, and by a photovoltaic solar plant with a power of over 20KW.


 


SON Cascina San Carlo
via privata Trasimeno 67, Milan, IT


 


Status
2016-20 design and fund-raising


2020-22 construction


 


Program


Social facility


640 m2 NIA


920 m2 GBA


 


Cost
1.780.000 euro


Client
SON Onlus


Principal architect
B22 | Arch. Stefano Tropea
in team with Carlo Venegoni


Design team
Federica Vassena, Luis Acedo Rico Pablo Romero, Beatrice Balducci, Enrico Bertonazzi, Yulia Filatova, Chiara Gelpi, Simone Marcolin, Francesca Venini 


Consultants


Ing. Federico Mazzola (structural engineer)


ASC impianti (mep design)


Geosat (soil remediation)


Giuseppe Ercoli (agronomist)


 


Photography
Simone Marcolin
Filippo Romano

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    The SON center for mental fragility, located in the outskirts of Milan, consists of a cluster of housing and social services, distributed within two residential buildings and a pavilion for civic and public activities. Moreover, the project includes the refurbishment of Cascina San Carlo – a building dating back to 1915 – and the redevelopment and expansion of the adjacent public park. Two new buildings accommodate the apartments for parents with children affected by mental...

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