LOCATION Segrate, Milan, Italy
YEAR 2020
THEME Architecture, Education spaces, Primary school
STATUS Competition
DESIGNERS Tomaso Monestiroli, Luca Cardani, Raffaella Neri
TEAM Claudia Angarano, Martina Meulli

The project area, which is particularly large, encompasses the entire civic center of the city, with the urban park with its artificial hill, skirting the urban spaces of the old city hall, now the library, designed by Guido Canella, adjacent to the square and monument created in the same years by Aldo Rossi.
The theme we set ourselves is to build a part of the city that can be representative of a way of understanding living. A succession of collective spaces and open places, immersed in nature, according to an idea of an open city, built starting from the balance between the scale of the neighborhood and the larger territorial scale.

We think that the school should be a place that is increasingly experienced for activities open to citizens or not necessarily concerning teaching: the school as part of the city, as an urban reference in which the entire community recognizes itself, representing the center of the cultural advancement of the community that inhabits it. In this sense, the project for the new school complex in Segrate aims to strengthen the public pole that gravitates around the Centroparco, the new green heart of the city, in order to consolidate its central role and to specify its urban identity. The new complex redefines the relationships between the different public spaces of this area – now independent of each other – binding them into a unitary system articulated in different places, connected through the network of a predominantly pedestrian and bicycle viability. The position of the buildings thus tends to enhance the green spaces already present within the area. The school and the market are the hub of a system of paths that, coming from the historic center, connect the civic center, the town hall, the swimming pool, the schools, the sports fields and the Park Center. The design of the open spaces is set on two main axes, orthogonal to each other, intended for gentle mobility, defined by a tree-lined street in a north-south direction, where the market stalls are placed ordered by regular tree planting, and by a second arcaded street that leads to the lake skirting the existing hill, serving the gymnasium and sports spaces open to the public. The school occupies the large lawn and organizes the studio spaces to address the hillside garden. A long, double-height glazed gallery is the heart of the school, the meeting place for the whole community in its leisure time, which, starting from the atrium, a place for waiting and resting, distributes its parts. This system ensures the diversification of spaces, in view of their purpose and their possible public opening throughout the day. The study spaces, classrooms and laboratories are organized in green courts pertaining to the school, spaces for play and outdoor activities, facing the tree-lined park on the hill. Due to their dimensional characteristics, the distribution spaces are configured as places for playful and alternative activities, connected to teaching or study in conjunction with classroom activities. The new tree-lined north-south street is punctuated by the volumes that accommodate the school’s collective spaces, the gymnasium, library, cafeteria, and auditorium, distinct in size and form, also distributed by the inner gallery. The character of this complex is based on its construction. The distributive gallery, as well as the path leading from the central axis to the artificial lake, rely on the triptych system to define their collective character. They are the places of being and walking; collective meeting places, open and bright where the classrooms intended for public functions are attested. The large collective classrooms of the library, cafeteria, gymnasium and auditorium, as well as the more private spaces of learning and study, entrust their representativeness to the wall system. A brick fence, which rhythms the openings through alternating pilasters and breakthroughs, defines the two courtyards open to the green hill, intended for classrooms and laboratories. Similar fences define the shape, each time different, of the gymnasium, library, cafeteria and auditorium. And so the layout of the school also orders a larger part of the city and also orients the location and lay of the residential neighborhood, required by the notice, connected by the project through the sequence of green spaces of nature, public places and paths, which are composed from the urban value recognized to the school pole.


L. Cardani (edit by) Studio Monestiroli  Opere e progetti di Architettura Electa Milan 2021