Representative of Milanese architecture of the early 20th century, Quartiere Sarto was designed by the celebrated architect Giovani Broglio in Liberty style. This bourgeois piece of the city conceived as a self-containing block, consisted of 11 villas immersed in gardens and green spaces. While the idea of an isolated upper middle-class neighbourhood may have seemed an attractive one to many, the course of history turned things upside down. After years of abandonment of villas, a few years ago they were occupied by an activist driven community center called “Lambretta”. The villas open to socio-cultural activities as well as the homeless and needy, disrupted the very idea of a segregated high-end community. Reminding a city which was busy with expensive projects such as Expo, that the city’s sufferings aren’t only to be cured by a plastic-surgery like project such as the former. The battle of remaining in these villas became the battle for the “right to the city”, spurring a recurrent question: “for whom do we keep reinventing our cities?”
The violent evacuation and consequent selling of the block by its public owner (residential construction company of Lombardy aka ALER) to the private sector to refurbish this urban subject and prepare it for free market put an end to the yet another dream of a bottom up movement’s will to proactively shape our cities, giving voice and opportunity to the marginalised and disenfranchised.
The Crespi village, is a former industrial village that lies on riversides of Adda. It is one of the first Italian
examples where the industrialist had gone beyond building a sole factory and planned to build homes,
services, public spaces, entertainment and even a cemetery for factory’s workforce.
The village which was built in late 19 th century, is the result of an ideology contrary to prevailing ones of
its times. It tries to reconcile the interests of two classes historically in conflict, masters and the workers.
A utopian village that made the lives of workers and their families less tiring and more dignified. This
sounds like a desirable situation! However, it is the cemetery of the village that through its master plan
and the design of the individual elements highlights the real problem of this type of social organization.
The grid that houses the identical and very simple tombs of the workers, playing on topography and size,
directs us to a center. The center is a mausoleum with a non-orthodox design that reminds us more of
the architectural landscapes of the Far East. The cemetery perfectly unveils the true, inherent and
irremediable problem with this type of social organization. In addition to the hierarchy based on the
economic power, cultural eclecticism is a privilege that belongs to a certain class that can afford it.
Workers were (and still by large are) a homogenous mass within which everyone is born, lives, and dies
in the same way, with a simple single purpose: survival.
The small ancient town of Dergano was registered as a Milanese village in 1751. In 1808 the Napoleon's government annexed it for the first time into Milan, however the Austrians canceled the order in 1816 after the establishment of the Lombard-Veneto Kingdom. It was during the Fascist era that Dergano finally became part of Milan.
Dergano was mainly characterised by the presence of a very important hospital that, at the end of the eighteenth century following a major outbreak of smallpox, was inaugurated under the name of Agostino Bassi, famous Italian entomologist.
Today, Dergano is still preserving its historic soul as an old neighbourhood while in terms of the number of immigrants, is considered one of the richest districts of Milan.
The panorama underlines also Milano’s skyscrapers like Pirelli and Pre-Expo 2015 constructions, like UniCredit tower by Cesar Pelli, Vertical forest by Stefano Boeri, Solaria tower by Bernardo Fort-Brescia and Palazzo Lombardia.
Stories & Places
"For many of us, it is an ordinary practice to enter people’s space in our everyday life, being it metaphorical or physical one.