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Life and water in the city. Featured project Canale Della Vita in Milan.

13 of July '22

Michal Galuszka and Agata Golesna, students of the Faculty of Architecture at the Silesian University of Technology, received an honorable mention in the international Milan Navigli Canal Challenge competition of the Buildner platform! Their project Canale della Vita is a proposal that restores the historic form of Navigli's canals and creates new ecosystems in the city and ecological solutions to improve the lives of all residents (including animals) and the development of tourism. The main design slogan? Life and water in the city!

Contestants were tasked with imagining the Milan of the future by designing a symbiotic relationship between the city and its historic Navigli canal system. Proposals were to take into account friendly design, mobility and the relationship between water and urban space.

Projekt Canale della Vita, schemat połączeń przestrzeni publicznych

The Canale della Vita project, a scheme for connecting public spaces

© Michal Galuszka, Agata Golesna

Milan of the future

The competition challenge consisted of two tasks - participants had to create a design and strategy for the reopening of the entire eight-kilometer stretch of Navigli in Medionalna. It was necessary to define general architectural guidelines, possible functions and some key connections between new and existing spaces, as well as general signage for the canal area. As a second task, one of eight given locations of public spaces adjacent to the Navigli canal had to be selected for detailed development. Each location was characterized by its unique features, its key points and the problems it faces. These were: Cassina de Pomm, Via Melchiorre Gioia, Conca dell'Incoronata, San Marco,Via Senato-Via Marina, Università degli Studi, Parco delle Basiliche, Parco Archeologico.

Projekt Canale della Vita, mapa kanału Projekt Canale della Vita, schematy funkcjonowania

map of the canal and staging

© Michal Galuszka, Agata Golesna

projects from Poland awarded!

The submitted projects were evaluated by a jury consisting of: James Biber (Biber Architects, USA), Grazia Comai (Townshend Landscape Architects, UK), Carola Enrich (Townshend Landscape Architects), Samista Jugwanth (Zutari, Africa), Silvana Ordinas (Peter Pichler Architecture, Italy), Lukas Rungger (noa* network of architecture), Sean Shen (ZJJZ Atelier, China), Rituparna Simlai (Studio Arth, USA). The jury awarded three main prizes, the BB Student Award, the Clients Favorite award and six honorable mentions.

Among the honorable mentions were two projects by male and female students of the Faculty of Architecture at the Silesian University of Technology. One is the Water Belt Of Milan project by Daria Bal, Klaudia Elsner and Marta Sanigorska, and the other is just Canale della Vita designed by Michal Galuszko and Agata Golesna.

canal of life

The name of the project Canale della Vita comes from Italian and means Canal of Life. Life became the main theme of our project, and the perception of life on many levels inspired the solutions presented in the project. From social connections, to ecological corridors for animal life, to the creation of new ecosystems in the city and ecological solutions to improve the lives of residents and the development of tourism. The reopening of the Navigli Canal is expected to revitalize the dynamic and fast-growing city of Milan, Michal and Agata tell us.

The opening of the canal has the potential to become an old urban ring road encircling important historical sites, monuments and modernity. The project of the Poles is expected to influence the direction of the city's development, to be a manifesto and an example for other cities in the world that have lost their water resources in the urban structure over the years.

Powody ponownego otwarcia kanału Navigli

reasons for reopening the Navigli canal

© Michal Galuszka, Agata Golesna

reopening of the canal

The Navigli Canal is 8.8 kilometers long and is divided into four sections. Along it runs a promenade, a bicycle path and a street intended mainly for public transportation and providing access to properties along the planned boulevard. Depending on the available width, along the canal the authors propose a variable water channel width of 5, 7 or 10 meters, respectively. They also assumed that the street is one-way, but at times when such a traffic arrangement would be unfavorable, they proposed two-lane access roads.

Celem autorów było zachowanie istniejącego drzewostanu

One of the elements of the project is a city park

© Michal Galuszka, Agata Golesna

The project to open the Navigli is expected to be a step towards the sustainable development of the city and fit into the Milano 2030 development plan . It is assumed to have a positive impact on the city's climate - by increasing water retention and movement and reducing the urban heat island effect. In addition, the opening of the canal is expected to create a new form of mobility in the city, thereby linking key public spaces and connecting Lombardy's lakes with water infrastructure.

The creation of new bicycle paths along the canal could serve as a link between the city center and the planned bicycle corridors. A ring-shaped boulevard will be created, which can be used to traverse important places in the city, and future urban development can be focused on adding essential functions along the perimeter, the authors add.

Historia kanału Navigli

History of the Navigli Canal

© Michal Galuszka, Agata Golesna

reference to history

The project refers to the historical course of the water channel. Over the years, the canal has changed its form, closing off successive sections. The project assumes a return to the original form of the can al in the shape of an incomplete circle and proposes to close it in the park by the Sforzesco Castle. It is intended to create a water bypass around the city center and become a vibrant place that supports the activities of both local communities and tourists.

The planned reconstruction of the shipping canal will become an important part of Lombardy's water transportation in the future. A seamless connection will be established between the region's two largest lakes - Lago Maggiore and Lago di Commo. As a result, the old navigable channel will be reopened as a major water transport route.

The whole concept alludes to the original natural connection of the inland water network. It's also a move that fits in with the current European trend of using water management to combat climate change. Milan has the potential to become an attractive point on the waterway. The longest routes could lead from Lago Maggiore, through Milan and even Padua or Venice, the students explain.

Aksonometria parku

axonometry of the designed park

© Michal Galuszka, Agata Golesna

multifunctional urban space

The second task of the competition was the detailed design of one of the given locations. Students of the Silesian University of Technology chose the Via Sentao - Via Marina area, located in the very center, but the most neglected.

The goal of our project is to create a modern, multifunctional urban space that meets the needs of a growing city. Thanks to its location and the opening of the canal in the center of the city, the designed park will create conditions for a sustainable lifestyle for residents. Currently, the park is only part of the green foreground for Giardini Indro Montanelli. With a complete redevelopment, the site will become a competitive place, inviting people moving from the city center to the east with its green space, the designers explain.

Nowy punkt orientacyjny przed wejściem do parku

A new landmark in front of the park entrance

© Michal Galuszka, Agata Golesna

park reinvented

To attract users, the students proposed a new landmark in the form of a large sign with the city's name. The sign's structure is made of smog-absorbing concrete. One of the main objectives of the project is to preserve the existing tree stand and use it as a spatial composition material. Around the existing greenery, the authors proposed places for various activities. The park's functions are in response to discussions with residents and park users. There will be picnic areas, recreational areas for seniors, children's playgrounds, city bicycle stations, a dog run and youth education areas. The system of paths and communication is based on connecting the park with the existing paths of the green areas immediately adjacent to the study area.

W parku autorzy zaproponowali wiele zbiorników wodnych

In the park, the authors proposed a number of water reservoirs

© Michal Galuszka, Agata Golesna

water in the city

The park opens with a square with a new landmark and an existing monument, and closes with an area with an obelisk. The project involves the removal of the existing gas station, and electric car chargers will be installed in the parking lots instead. The authors have introduced nine pools of water to symbolize the opening of the canal in the city. Both the opening of the canal and the introduction of pools in the park will have a positive impact on reducing the heat island effect. The students also introduced small retention basins in the form of rain gardens and a bioretention ditch along the canal. These systems will help reduce the risk of overflowing the canal during heavy rainfall.

The project is a modern, environmentally-friendly and multifunctional response to the needs of a changing world. Birdhouses will be installed in the park, which will be a huge help to the city once the canal opens and the population of nuisance mosquitoes increases. There will also be bee houses, which are also a symbol of human life, which is the main theme of the project to open the entire canal," Michal and Agata concluded.

The topic of water in the city was also addressed by students of the Warsaw University of Technology, creating the installation Water Asylum.

Dobrawa Bies

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