"A news center for Milan" at the Triennale

Milan, 22 September 2004. From today at 18.30 thru 21 October 2004, the Triennale di Milano will host the “A New Center for Milan” exhibition where the five projects for the international tender to redevelop Milan Fair’s existing exhibition complex are being presented for the very first time

The competition, which ended on 2 July 2004 when the CityLife consortium won the tender, was launched on 4 April 2003 with the publication of the call for prequalification and was carried out in two stages. The first evaluation stage was to analyze the quality of the projects, or to ascertain if they fully met the guidelines in the tender. The second phase, which focused on quantity,  involved selecting the winning project on the basis of the price bid submitted by the short-listed groups.

The exhibition will be inaugurated by Davide Rampello, president of the Triennale, Luigi Roth, CEO and managing director of Fondazione Fiera Milano, Lanfranco Senn, director of Certet at Luigi Bocconi University, Deyan Sudijc, architecture critic, editorialist and curator of exhibitions and Gianni Verga, councilor for land development at the Milan City Council.

In addition to offering a preview of the five scale models of the projects, the exhibition explains the tender procedure through stories and documents. It is signed by Fondazione Fiera Milano, with the contribution of Cecilia Bolognesi as the scientific coordinator and the graphic project and fittings by the architectural practice Navone Associati. The exhibition is two-tiered, one representing “the demand”, or the request expressed by the commissioning party through the call for pre-qualification, and the other “the response”, or the five projects that were submitted by the consortia.

The “demand” wall hosts the faces of the leading protagonists of this competition, as well as the transformations of the City Complex over the years, the tender methodology and the guidelines drafted by Fondazione Fiera Milano and Sviluppo Sistema Fiera. Special attention is also given to the public documents for the competition: the zoning variance to the general town planning scheme for the Fair area and official paperwork.

The “response” wall features all the five projects submitted, with site plans, project charts and the proposals for the public areas adjacent to the transformation zone, as well as a multimedia area,  where visitors can watch films presenting the projects with the descriptions provided by each consortium and finally a book, at the end of the exhibition for opinions and suggestions.

The contest was not the traditional project competition, it was not an auction or a tender per se - explained Luigi Roth –but a mixed exercise, an  innovative model for Italy. An all-in-one procedure that combined planning, design, development and  economic-financial feasibility. We started with a “complex” concept of urban transformation that would be assessed in a multidisciplinary way. The responses that were received were all along these lines and recaptured this spirit in different ways but in perfect agreement with the approach chosen by Fondazione Fiera Milano.

This tender – commented Deyan Sudijc – is an example of transparency and logic where all the finest talents were grouped around a single project. The result will be an excellent redevelopment project and is Milan’s first important step towards the models of urban exploration and testing that we have already been witnessing for some time in important European cities like Paris, London, Berlin and Barcelona.

The outcome of this tender - added Verga – is a project that is bound to become a hallmark and that will allow Milan to restore its ties with a glorious architecturalpast and to reap the full benefits of this new and fortunate season.

The tender to redevelop Milan Fair’s exhibition grounds – ended Rampello – is a great future challenge. I hope that this will be the starting point for the urban relaunching of our city.