Cassano d’Adda (Milan) – Projects and plans for redevelopment of the area of the disused Linificio Canapificio Nazionale factory

Architects: Marco Facchinetti, Luca De Stefani

Category: Architecture

Date: 2010-20…

City: Cassano d’Adda (Milan)

Tags: Urban design, building,  mixitè, heritage


The Linificio Canapificio Nazionale complex at Cassano d’Adda is a very particular area embedded in the valley of Adda river, in a context rich in history and remains of hydraulic and industrial engineering and endowed at the same time with particular environmental value. It is constucted on a platform nearly at the level of the canal of the linen factory, close to the historical centre, higher up but nearby, and overlooked by the castle. A heritage that merits the utmost attention and the highest possible level of planning, addressing a redevelopment with the degree of courage required to prevent the destruction of the heritage and to create a project with an overall breath and vision.

Three pathways constitute the project’s backbone and the basic structure of the settlement.

First, a pathway along the canal, with the reconstruction of the longer disused Corderie building to give new volume to a symbolic place, capable of accommodating a cycle lane and a pedestrian pathway of sufficient weight to attract public spaces and central places.

Second, a central pedestrian pathway of many uses and functions in the form of an urban promenade, like a riverside or waterfront, with shops, leisure facilities, cafés, restaurants, residential buildings and private service functions clustered along the main living street, the true backbone of the settlement.

Third, a greenway that gives shape to the project with the design of a major backbone along the canal, which overlaps with the Corderie pathway, shapes the park, and branches out through the built-up area to expand the environmental value of green areas in the midst of constructed space.

Key importance attaches to salvaging the buildings that have survived neglect and decay. The historical nucleus of the Linificio Canapificio Nazionale, a splendid two-storey building with a steel frame and outer shell of masonry, and some small buildings with the markedly industrial character accommodate the most important public functions.

The architecture seeks out a particular vocabulary with approaches such as New Urbanism in the USA: it modulates the volumes carefully in relation to the urban-planning scheme in the conviction that urbanity is attained through a blend of structures, public networks, spaces for relations, open spaces, constructed spaces, uses and functions. It also designs surfaces with materials connected with the local tradition and the contemporary requirements of energy saving and environmental performance.

The Linificio will take shape as a major area of transformation capable with its urban character of renewing the role of the town and increasing its overall quality.