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Enhancing the Historic Public Social Housing through a User-Centered Design-Driven Approach


Medium: journal article
Language(s): English
Published in: Buildings, , n. 9, v. 10
Page(s): 159
DOI: 10.3390/buildings10090159

The study presents a didactic experience for the deep refurbishment and the revitalization of the San Siro neighborhood in Milan (Italy). The public housing is a significative example of the 20th-century architecture (also named “Italian Modernism of Architecture”), designed by the Italian architects—Franco Albini, Renato Camus, Giancarlo Palanti, and Laslo Kovacs (1938–1941). Nowadays, it is a multicultural area, characterized by the presence of a fragile population, with strong socio-spatial inequalities, intercultural and intergenerational conflicts. Here, an architectural design project is realized, experimenting with innovative and up-to-date design solutions. This experience develops a sensitive awareness of the multidimensional complexity of the environmentally responsible design, which requires a critical balance among different disciplines and skills. The reusing of existing buildings has sustainable importance for preventing new land-uses and for saving the potential energy consumption related to the construction process. Only a widespread knowledge of the local socio-economic conditions through participatory actions permits the selection of appropriate retrofit solutions, considering also the high cultural, social, and economic values. Functional and social mix, space flexibility, green design, renewable energies, circular economy criteria, and continuative maintenance are the correct strategies for boosting the social revitalization and for improving fairness, safety, architectural quality, human comfort, energy efficiency, and sustainability in this public housing neighborhood.

Copyright: © 2020 by the authors; licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland.

This creative work has been published under the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International (CC-BY 4.0) license which allows copying, and redistribution as well as adaptation of the original work provided appropriate credit is given to the original author and the conditions of the license are met.

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