Upside Down Flows. Redeeming the landscapes crossed by the Olona River in Milan


Personal Info

Name: Virgilio Diaz Guzman

Nationality: Mexico

Institution / Company: Politecnico di Milano

Instagram: @virgiliodiazz



Name: Karelia Diaz

Nationality: Venezuela

Institution / Company: Politecnico di Milano


-WINNER of Non Architecture Award 2022 Competition | Category: Urban & Landscape


The project explores the possibilities of ‘daylighting’ the Olona River, hidden and buried during the 1950s and 1970s as a result of socio-political and economic development in Italy, along the crossed urban landscapes of the metropolitan city of Milan. While acknowledging the possibilities that deculverting streams can provide to highly dense urban settlements, the outcome of the work is an experimental urban regeneration proposal, based on strategies and interventions aimed to reshape the crossed urban fabric with the deculverting of the Olona. The project creates a holistic balance between past, present, and future reimagining the city’s streetscape by integrating nature-based solutions (NBS) and sustainable urban drainage systems (SUDS), assembling in this way a blue-green corridor of open public spaces, unfolding into the surrounding neighbourhoods by the implementation of placemaking strategies and adding slow mobility connections to the greater transport system. In doing so, it aims to recognize the positive effects of reintroducing natural capital into the city, boosting and enhancing the mental and physical well-being of the population, while using ‘soft engineering’ and co-participation techniques to self-maintain public open spaces. As result, the Olona River presents itself as a palimpsest restoring the water flowing from the ‘downside’ into the open air, becoming a catalyzer for the insertion of resilient green public spaces, and delivering a series of ecosystem services that counteract the current climate crisis and enhance green and sustainable strategies in Milan by 2050


Project Type:

Landscape Architecture

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