Parco Nord, Milan

Italy

The park on the ex-Breda industrial area site is an island without construction amid a sea of dense buildings. Established by a provincial bylaw, it is a green belt park whose realisation is now inseparable from the urban planning reorganisation of Milan’s North.

The park on the ex-Breda industrial area site is an island without construction amid a sea of dense buildings. Established by a provincial bylaw, it is a green belt park whose realisation is now inseparable from the urban planning reorganisation of Milan’s North.

A green oasis between Milan, Sesto San Giovanni and Cinisello Balsamo, the Parco Nord is a treasure trove of artistic, floral and architectural heritage. It covers over 632 hectares on part of the areas that once housed the Breda plants. The Parco Nord is visited each year by several million people

In 1983, Andreas Kipar, in collaboration with park director Francesco Borella, initiated a small-scale intervention that laid the foundation for what would become Parco Nord. Given limited resources—only a caterpillar and two drivers—Kipar began the meticulous work of removing steel slag from the former Breda industrial site to uncover the fertile agricultural soil below. This practical approach not only reclaimed the land but also set the stage for further development.

Key Features and Innovations:

Reclamation and Design: The initial 35-hectare area was a blend of wooded areas, clearings, meadows, and small ponds, creating a diverse and inviting landscape. A standout innovation was the creation of a “montagnetta,” a small hill crafted from industrial slag, which became a distinctive hallmark of the park.

Integration and Mediation: Parco Nord is a crucial mediator between urban and rural spaces, work and leisure, providing a harmonious environment for relaxation and recreation. Its design seamlessly transitions from the bustling cityscape to serene natural settings.

 

Legacy and Impact:

Parco Nord stands as Andreas Kipar’s first major intervention in Milan and has grown significantly over the years. It symbolises the potential for urban renewal through green infrastructure. This project laid the groundwork for Kipar’s broader Green Rays strategy, aimed at creating continuous green corridors that connect the city with its surrounding natural landscapes.

By 2000, Parco Nord had expanded into a vital green lung for the metropolitan area, embodying the principles of ecological restoration and sustainable urban design. Kipar’s ongoing involvement and various contracts ensured the park’s evolution into a model of urban regeneration.

Parco Nord is not just a park but a testament to the transformative power of landscape architecture. Andreas Kipar’s work on this project has left an enduring legacy, highlighting the importance of green spaces in urban environments and paving the way for future initiatives prioritising nature-based solutions and sustainable development.

A network of 8 km of bicycle paths and 15 km of pedestrian paths connects various parts of town as a sort of by-pass, an alternative to suburban traffic. For its large scale, the project can be included in the tradition of big European parks such as the Bois de Boulogne, Bois de Vincennes in Paris, the Bos in Amsterdam, or the Tiergarten in Berlin.

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