An architectural mark that, far from laying claim to an iconic status, blends within the urban fabric of the area: it is the distinguishing character of Pichi 12 residential project designed by Park Associati near the Navigli in Milan.
Originally designed for residential use by students and young professionals linked to the nearby university centres – Naba and Bocconi –, the Pichi 12 project has developed into its final form as residence for a more widespread use.
Featuring strong distinctive elements, such as a play of neat white-plastered volumes and architectural details of loggias and windows covered in sheet metal, the project reinterprets the modernism of Milanese residential architecture into an elegant, democratic and understated building.
The project’s beating heart is the green courtyard open to the street; at its centre a maple tree which, once grown, will make the view of the garden and the road from the windows and loggias even more pleasant. The courtyard, a reference to the urban courtyard that in historic Milanese residences is traditionally internal and private, here opens up to public life and acts as a filter between individual home living and communal urban coexistence.
The building is spread over three floors, with the ground floor reserved for communal activities and socialising. The flats, of different layouts and sizes, are all designed to accommodate a diverse community and guarantee a good quality of living.
The dry construction techniques that were studied for the building entailed the use of materials – such as steel – capable of creating both lightness and strength.
The façades generate simple geometric volumes, the loggias having been hollowed out to create a discontinuous yet harmonious pattern of solids and void, openings and blind walls. As a tribute to a type of coating that has been widely used for the facades of Milanese architectures since the 1940s, clinker was used to line the loggias.
Set back from the white facades, the aqua green of the loggias’ back walls is the building’s only note of colour, in tune with the green of the internal courtyard’s vegetation.
Anti-iconicity is one of the strengths of Pichi 12, an elegant and discreet residential architecture in the heart of Milan.