Kengo Kuma in Milan is Welcome, feeling at work

It’s called Welcome, feeling at work, and it’s a bio-based architecture project by the famous Japanese studio Kengo Kuma and Associates, presented at the seventeenth edition of the international architecture exhibition held in 2021. The project is very ambitious (as indeed most of those that have the intent to overturn Milan, presented in recent years), and will develop within the Crescenzago district for a total investment of around 300 million euros.

The project

Kengo Kuma’s project envisages the construction of 6 buildings dedicated exclusively to work, leisure and shopping (therefore no residential construction), which in all will consist of over 43,000 square meters of offices, a thousand square meters of meeting rooms, an auditorium, 2700 meters coworking squares, as well as a commercial area of 1800 square meters and 2000 square meters for restaurants. In addition, a supermarket, a wellness area and a series of exhibition spaces dedicated to temporary exhibitions and events will complete the picture.

Numerous courtyards are planned to be created between one building and another, which in all will occupy almost 5000 square meters of surface. Open or glazed, they will be surrounded by spontaneous vegetation that will grow on terraces and inside greenhouses. At the same time, the latter will be able to host vegetable gardens and gardens open to all.

Unlike the numerous skyscrapers in Milan and the new projects that develop vertically, Welcome, feeling at work will have a mostly horizontal development, to give workers and visitors an idea of continuity with the nearby Lambro Park.

Biophilic architecture?

Biophilic architecture is certainly a very fashionable term, although certainly not known to everyone. Synonymous with bio-architecture, it is a current of thought that puts buildings and nature, artificial structures and landscape elements in close communication.

Welcome designer, feeling at work Yuki Ikeguchi, explained that “this approach allows us to spend time in contact with nature even when we are not immersed in it, such as at work”. This is very interesting and undoubtedly winks at the themes so dear to the architects of the third millennium, such as eco-sustainability and energy efficiency. Welcome, feeling at work is certainly no exception, since the buildings will all be built in organic and natural materials. Around them, the natural elements will prevail, and everything will be characterized by light, air and wood, to stimulate the senses and the mind, in full Japanese Zen tradition.

The ultimate goal of this “feeling good” is to have well-being workplaces that stimulate the senses and the mind, thus increasing productivity and improving the physical and mental health conditions of employees.

The redevelopment

As often happens in a city like Milan, new projects redevelop entire blocks, areas or neighborhoods. It will be the same for Welcome, feeling at work, as the buildings that will make up the complex will rise in place of the old Rizzoli factory, owned by the famous publishing house, abandoned since 2008 and not yet demolished.

The state of abandonment of the former factory has meant that it is continuously occupied, despite the evictions that are regularly organized by the police and firefighters. Degradation and insecurity are key elements that Welcome, feeling at home wants to eradicate from the neighborhood, for a complete redevelopment that will bring not only a breath of fresh air to Crescenzago, but also many workers to boost the local economy.

To date, the remediation works are in progress: the main building is being dismantled, while the demolition of the old industrial building is in progress. It is estimated that the project will be definitively concluded by the end of 2024.

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