When the National Recovery and Resilience Plan (PNRR) came into existence in 2021 through the convergence of national and European proposals, Italy, along with the rest of the world, sought to emerge from the physically, socially, emotionally, and professionally challenging pandemic period caused by the spread of the Covid-19 coronavirus.
Having faced the profound changes imposed on all of us by health needs, the PNRR embodied the perspective of recovery and revitalization of the country that had matured during the quarantine period and was enriched with new perspectives, oriented towards the sustainability of our way of life and the increased digitization in all economic and social sectors.
In BMS, that period was characterized by exceptional work continuity, thanks to the commitment of all members of our team and the innovation and digitization process of the company, tools, and operational methods. This allowed our entire group to continue operating from their respective residences.
The PNRR was the expected sign in a perspective of returning to the course, destined to impact the country’s development, and for this reason, it was necessary to participate with great energy and conviction to contribute. In particular, we focused on projects that best met the characteristics of our project approach, in which urban regeneration, interdisciplinary integration, innovation, digitization, energy efficiency, environmental sustainability, and low-cost quality are themes that are part of the company’s current DNA and are the continuous commitment of all our professionals.
Representative in this regard is the case of the project proposed by the Municipality of Novara for the realization of a social housing nucleus, in the area previously occupied by the construction site of the TAV Milan Turin. It is a project of great interest where the intention of the Municipality was to transform the situation of degradation and marginalization that had been defined in that portion of the territory into a new opportunity for redemption and rebirth for the entire local community.
Fig. 1 – Zenith photograph of the base camp for the construction of the TAV Milan-Turin
The project involves the creation of a new social residential settlement intended for families or young couples, often excluded from the traditional housing market, to offer a segment of the city that can become an open social laboratory and create an ideal context where the themes of experimentation and inclusion become the true center of the project.
Here, alongside social, economic, and cultural aspects, issues related to the conception and realization of the physical context could also become vehicles for bold proposals that bring together optimization of living quality, excellent technical characteristics, economic sustainability, safety, and a strong architectural identity.
Fig. 2 – Preliminary Masterplan based on the competition
It is on all these themes that BMS has worked, in collaboration with other working groups, to offer the future inhabitants of the neighborhood a place that, despite its essential characteristics, allows for high living standards, characterized by well-being, architectural quality, and richness of urban space.
This starts from the project of the space designated for public greenery, which, with its 31,000 sqm, is certainly one of the protagonists of the intervention. At the request of the designers, the Municipality entrusted it to a specialized landscape design studio, so that it could become a new opportunity in the construction of a quality public space within the neighborhood.
Fig. 3 – Masterplan developed by the winning team of the 3 Competitions
But even more directly, BMS has committed itself to the study and design of the prototype of a residential building, which served as the basis to be adapted into three different types out of the five planned within the masterplan, also modifying the plan-volumetric layout to enrich the urban image of the buildings as a whole: we are talking in particular about types A, B, and C, with 4, 2, and 8 apartments respectively.
The prototype, designed on pilotis as required by the Municipality for greater safety of the inhabitants, included:
- The reconfiguration of the planimetric arrangement of the buildings to make the open space more fluid and interconnected, with pathways, widenings, squares, and green areas.
- The creation of a stereometric and prismatic envelope that broke the repetitiveness of the starting pattern with an asymmetrical profile and compositional structure of the facades.
- High-quality interior spaces, with dimensions and characteristics that enhance the usability and functionality of individual units.
- A complete system of building services, including both winter and summer air conditioning, internet connection, and every other comfort that ensures the well-being of the inhabitants.
From the careful development of the design drivers, an aggregate has emerged that, by overlaying our design experiences on the theme of newly conceived residential neighborhoods, has achieved the goal of recreating, even in seemingly peripheral contexts, a quality of living and urbanity entirely compatible with those of private building projects in more central areas, thanks to careful analysis, comparison, and synthesis.
Fig. 10 – Rendered views of residential buildings of types A, B, and C integrated into the Masterplan
It is a result that makes us particularly proud and is the merit of a cohesive design team with diverse skills that have been able to find synthesis within the project. At the same time, it is necessary to emphasize that this is also the result of the constructive and open interaction we have had both with the Municipality of Novara and with the other consultants who have worked on the project, allowing us to contribute decisively to the successful outcome of this project that we trust will maintain, at the end of construction, the quality that we have sought, imagined, and wanted.
For this, we thank our team: Leonardo Berretti (DM BMS Architecture), Marco Serra (DM BMS Structures), Salvatore Mele, Andrea Nicita, Anaelle Ravez, Giacomo Zucchiatti.
We conclude by mentioning all the members of the three working groups involved in the project:
Lot 1 and general coordination – RINA, Corvino + Multari, DFP Engineering, Arethusa
Lot 2 – 3TI Progetti, Seingim, Integrated Services
Lot 3 – BMS Progetti, Recchi Engineering, eFM
Palestro 24 has accepted the challenge of pursuing the LEED certification protocol for the Core & Shell rating. Being a historic building, and thus under protection, the possibilities of intervention have been strongly linked to this condition.
The design team, together with the client and the GC during the construction phase, managed to obtain excellent results in all LEED impact categories. The result is a high-performance building that meets the highest standards of ASHRAE 90.1-2010 and 62.1-2010.
The Urban Context and General Information
Palazzo Bernasconi is located in Milan, on Via Palestro at no. 24, at the intersection with Corso Venezia, in a privileged position overlooking the Indro Montanelli public gardens and not far from Villa Belgiojoso Bonaparte, less than two kilometers away from the Duomo.
The area, very central, is very well connected to the rest of the city thanks to the M1 subway line and is characterized by the presence of numerous representative buildings, residences of the ancient Milanese nobility.
The building consists of seven levels above the ground, including two mezzanine floors and roofs, a semi basement and a basement level. The plan development is characterized by the presence of an internal courtyard surrounded by three sides of the building, with an arched “loggia” along the north-east side, and closed in its North-East and South-West sides by a high wall boundary with the adjacent buildings.
The architectural style conforms to contemporary buildings in Milan and especially in the nearby Corso Venezia: residential and representative palaces in the revivalist neo-Renaissance style (especially as regards the façade) or Art Nouveau (prevalent in the interior decoration and particularly in numerous wrought iron elements).
The excellent location in the center of the municipality of Milan allows the occupants of the building to reach it comfortably by public transport, consequently minimizing the pollution caused by the use of cars. Furthermore, being a recovered historic building, it is a good example of “adaptive reuse”, i.e. the practice of reconverting existing historic buildings in order to reduce sources of pollution from the construction activity. These activities, however reduced compared to a new building, were monitored to control the erosive action on the soil and sedimentation in watercourses and groundwater. More than 75% of waste generated by construction site activities is diverted from landfills and sent for recycling.
The conversion of the original project involves internal demolition and refurbishment work with changes to the floor layout, renovation of the heating, electrical, plumbing and lift systems, without changing the intended use.
All these activities were carried on respecting the historical parts of the building. Moreover, protection measures were taken in order to reduce construction project disturbances to neighboring properties, rainwater systems, and the site itself. To manage all these topics, an erosion and sedimentation control plan was implemented during all construction phase. Also, several inspections were done do guarantee the implementation of the plan.
Reduction of Consumption
Thanks to the installation of flow reducers in the taps and double flow cisterns, the building manages to save about 40% of drinking water compared to other buildings of the same type and more than 15% of electricity consumption thanks to the highly efficient installed technologies.
To reduce the amount of potable water used in the building, the following solutions were provided:
– Flow reducers for:
- Public lavatory (restroom) faucet 1.35 lpm
- Showerheads 5.7 lpm
- Kitchen faucet 3.8 lpm
– Dual flush toilet (3-4.5 lpf)
The building is also provided with permanent water meters that measure the total potable water use of the building.
Water consumption metering will help project teams to improve the building’s performance.
A dedicated area accessible to waste haulers and building occupants for the collection and storage of recyclable materials for the entire building is provided.
The recycling storage areas are sized for the following material categories:
To reduce construction and demolition waste disposed in landfills and incineration facilities by recovering, reusing, and recycling materials, a Construction & Demolition Waste Management Plan was implemented during the construction phase.
This plan established waste diversion specifying whether materials will be separated or commingled and described the diversion strategies for the project.
By following this plan, it has been possible to recycle more than 75% of waste.
Indoor Environmental Quality
The maintenance of good indoor air quality (IAQ) is guaranteed by controlling the sources of pollution, removing contaminants and increasing the residual air taken from the outside. The accurate mechanical design foresees the monitoring during all the operating phases of the building by means of a pressure switch to control the changes in overpressure, and differential pressure of the ventilation system.
The ventilation inside the building has been designed to the highest standards recognized worldwide such as ASHRAE 62.1-2010. The outdoor air flow is monitored by the BMS system which will signal possible deviations of more than 15% of the design value. In rooms where natural ventilation is foreseen, CO2 sensors have been installed; these show the occupants when to open the windows to allow air exchanges.
From a stately home at the beginning of the 19th century to a company building and atelier of the famous tailor Gianni Campagna at the beginning of the new millennium, Palazzo Bernasconi is a splendid example of a representative building in the heart of Milan, 5000 square meters of prestigious rooms chosen by Casa Cipriani to host its new high-profile and exclusive Milan hotel, inaugurated on 21 September with a soft opening in preparation for the official launch on 1 October.
In the best Milanese tradition, the building and the intensive renovation project carried out by BMS Progetti are truly revealed and discovered once the entrance threshold is crossed: in accordance with the criteria of conservation and insertion in the central and historical context of the city, the external envelope towards the Indro Montanelli public gardens and Corso Venezia has been restored and enhanced, and the main interventions concerned in particular the internal façade with a new essential and contemporary architectural element in glass and golden aluminum, which has considerably improved the flexibility of the layouts of the various floors, and the roofs with a unity of language with the existing materials and volumes, to enhance the excellent panoramic position in the city center and free the historic copper roofs from machinery and superfetations.
The ambitious and demanding integrated design work, conducted from the due diligence phase to commissioning, which involved more than 15 designers and technicians and involved more than 25,000 hours of work over 4 years, was carried out in coordination with several other specialists and consultants. The internal layouts have been optimized for the new hospitality use and refined by the interior design project of Studio Michele Bönan which took care of the suites, the restaurant, the hall and the Arrigo bar, and by the design by Carlos Almada for the club on the fourth floor, with advice from the Studio Voltaire for lighting design and from the Studio Montanari for food & beverage. Particular attention was paid to the inclusion of new lift systems to improve the usability of the premises by customers and service personnel.
The goal of achieving a result of excellence and prestige did not concern only volumes and surfaces but involved the entire structure of the building, both for energy performance, with high-tech machinery for significant MEP requirements and total insulation of the historical envelope, and for the very high standards of environmental and acoustic comfort, achieved thanks to the specialistic design by Viva Consulting, above all for the isolation of the underground SPA area from the nearby subway line. The SPA and wellness area was designed by Studio Apostoli, and includes a salt cave whose machinery was placed in the new basement built under the existing foundations.
BMS Progetti worked in strong synergy with the owner, Merope Asset Management, to set up the project, and with the tenant, Cipriani Milano, to develop and calibrate it in order to best respond to their requests. Casa Cipriani therefore finds space in a historic and at the same time modern and efficient building, built with an ambitious project that aims to achieve the highest possible results in terms of aesthetics, performance and comfort, all to meet the needs of a very exclusive hotel business. These results were obtained thanks to the care, attention and respect that the existing building deserved, having set a discreet, measured, refined register.
BMS Progetti exhibits for the first time in its spaces, and until spring 2022, the paintings of a young and successful Italian artist, Rudy Cremonini.
The lucky meeting with Cremonini arises from the amazement of how his creative process, and ours, comes from a common primeval “intuition” that then is fullfilled in each work, and it is gradually changed into a completed thought and finally into a real “artefact” that can be enjoyed autonomously, tangibile, and that can be happily experienced by those who will be its recipients.
Just like for the Artist, our activity develops along a path that, from the conception of a primary idea originated by a happy blooming, then concretizes, modifies, evolves and perfects the object through the purely conceptual stage of work that is constantly defined and populated by thoughts, limits and spaces.
The aspiration of Cremonini and BMS Progetti in fact is always that that in the finished product, be it artistic or architectural-engineering, the core of what have been their respective intuitions is preserved with the aim and the desire that these intuitions be so authentic and profound (precisely because they derive from a long study and an equally accurate process of development) such as to arouse continuous emotion and joy in all those who will be the witnesses.
BMSLAB is the transversal area of BMS Progetti aimed to add value to projects through activities that: stimulate new ideas; favor points of contact; offer opportunities for in-depth study on aspects of compatibility and integration of projects. BMSLAB, through a permanent, transversal and synergistic innovation platform, promotes the logic of sustainability, open innovation and cultural contributions aimed at improving our design approach.
Luciano Galimberti, President of ADI – Industrial Design Association and head of the Compasso d’Oro Museum in Milan, took part to the BMS initiative “La percezione dello spazio”, centered on the exhibition of works by W. Niedermayr on Iran and on some SANAA projects.
The interview with Luciano Galimberti closed a cycle of meetings, curated by Claudio Composti, in which an articulated dialogue with several voices on art, contemporary design, sustainability and social responsibility was developed, with the relationship between ethics and aesthetics at the center of the dialogue, up to the innovative concept of Design Thinking.
The works of W. Niedermayr will now move to Turin at the Italian Center for Photography, CAMERA. The exhibition was organized between CAMERA and Intesa Sanpaolo – Founding Member and Institutional Partner of CAMERA – in collaboration with the Ncontemporary gallery and curated by Walter Guadagnini with the collaboration of Claudio Composti and Giangavino Pazzola.
BMS LAB conceived the exhibition project with the support of the Ncontemporary gallery (Milan | London) and the curator Claudio Composti.
Information and visits: