Public Facilities

Ex Macello – Aria: A Mixed-Use Social Space

Situated in the south-east district of Milan, Italy, the Ex Macello area is being reimagined through a collaboration between the Municipality of Milan and C40. Following a competition for the development of the area, Snøhetta’s winning proposal, Aria, was announced in July 2021. The new Aria neighborhood is envisioned as alive, teeming with activities that inspire new ways of learning, growing, living, and working. Health and environment take a front seat through experimenting with innovative and collaborative practices. Seamlessly weaving cutting-edge technology, the area’s rich cultural and architectural heritage, and a program for initiatives dedicated to citizens, Aria will become a neighborhood targeting environmental, social and economic sustainability. 

The masterplan was developed with a systemic and global approach: an approach that derives directly from the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) of the United Nations, the priorities that the European Union indicated for an effective recovery phase from the pandemic crisis, to the Air and Climate Plan of the Municipality of Milan. Aria is set to be the Municipality of Milan’s first Carbon Negative Area. A district heating network, ectogridTM, with Renewable Energy Communities and the construction of photovoltaic systems, will subtract CO2eq from the city. With 36.000 m2 of photovoltaic panels, Aria aims for LEED Gold level certifications for buildings on site and LEED for Cities and Communities: Plan & Design-certification for the masterplan.

The central role of plants and natural systems in bringing benefits to the project area and reducing its environmental impacts will go beyond the usual and fundamental places such as parks, avenues and gardens, vegetable gardens, facades and roofs. The Air Factory, a unique element of the project, responds to the wellness needs of residents. The innovative use of plants and soil will purify indoors, phytoremediate and re-naturalize open areas, regulate and treat water, capture CO2, and filter out air pollutants. 

As a mixed-use development to include workplaces, housing and commercial activity, the development is focused on creating a socially conscious urban destination capable of responding to the needs of the existing social fabric through hybridization of functions. 

Central to the proposal is the regeneration of legacy buildings, ensuring the preservation of the site’s rich cultural and architectural heritage and helping the environment through circularity of the buildings. Reusing 30.700 m2 of existing buildings, the project eliminates need for over 4.500 m3 of reinforced concrete, equaling a saving of 2.160 CO2eq. This approach, combined with the use of industrialized construction solutions, allows Aria to reduce climate-altering emissions during construction by as much as 52% compared to the BAU.

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