Orto fra i Cortili _ Garden Among the Courtyards
A green architecture project on a rooftop in Milan
Garden Among the Courtyards is the title of the project Piuarch with Cornelius Gavril has created for the 2015 Fuorisalone and it is become permanent.
The 300 square-meter roof of the building that is home to the Studio – on Via Palermo 1, in the heart of Milan’s Brera district – has been converted into a permanent vegetable garden and an “open air pharmacy,” redeveloping the building also from an energy and functional perspective.
A complete ecosystem, which begins in the nursery where the seeds are germinated, following the seasonal cycles and providing food, decoration, and medicinal plants, and finally ending with compost to fertilize a new season.
THE MODULAR PALLET SYSTEM
Central to this concept is the creation of a modular system that uses pallets to build easily assembled structures that combine aesthetics and functionality at a reasonable cost. The Garden Among the Courtyards aims not at being a single experience, but rather a system that is repeatable on a large scale for redeveloping areas that are not being used. The pallets are used both as a walking surface and, upside-down, as containers for soil. In this way, a single modular element is used to create the garden’s layout.
The open air pharmacy involves the planting of medicinal plants with the aim of rediscovering the medicinal and therapeutic properties of plants used for centuries for pharmaceutical purposes. It will not be just the creation of a vegetable garden and an area of medicinal plants, but a journey through time, where history, work and nature are reconciled.
The Garden Among the Courtyards is many things in one: a building energy improvement project, a landscape instrument, decorative, food self-production, a new space for entertainment, socializing and coworking for those who work in the building.
The plants create an ecosystem that fosters biodiversity, reduces the food supply chain and guarantees the genuineness of the products.
The layer of vegetation improves the insulation and increases the thermal inertia of the floors below it. The pallet system also allows the controlling of rainwater, reducing the flow of wastewater entering the city system.
THE GREENERY AND THE STRUCTURE
The overall design of the green area is by Cornelius Gavril (garden landscape architect, nursery designer), done in collaboration with VerdeVivo, a company of excellence in organic curative fertilizer, seed and preparations for gardening.
The green redevelopment system proposed by Piuarch is intended to be an improving, repeatable example, a system, for this reason an agreement was reached with the Vivai Mandelli nursery, which, after having worked with Piuarch to develop and install this first garden, will be the reference point for those who wish to replicate and adapt this system for other areas. Mandelli will provide the designing and installing of the modules.
The system also integrates building structural consolidation work aimed at increasing the load per square meter. The existing structure was reinforced by means of fiberglass structural reinforcement beams made by PCR srl, a leading company in research on structural elements. The structural elements in the PTrex line are composites made using glass fibers in a thermosetting resin matrix.
The use of a fiberglass structure makes it possible to carry out structural reinforcements using systems that are strong, lightweight, easy to install, weather resistant and completely recyclable.
The structure is made by Sice Previt that has applied its know-how to structural and technicians aspects to combine quality and aesthetics.
The set-up of the garden is constantly changing, during the Design Week 2016 Piuarch created a Kinetic Garden with flowers and salads. The special set-up of the rooftop garden is a tribute to the work of the Venezuelan artist Carlos Cruz-Diez, he has always been a reference point and inspiration for the studio.
The regular arrangement of plants and the different colours play with the visual perception and the movement of the visitors of the garden.
The kinetic effect is amplified by the triangular axes that define the space.