When an idea and a project are ill-conceived and continue over time, they only cause harm and confusion, at least we think so. TO Volta Gate the other big “mess” for the Municipality of Milan is taking place, after the San Siro football stadium, that of the construction of the Residence Museum.
The Municipality has always treated this corner of Milan as a back door, wedged between Porta Garibaldi and Paolo Sarpi’s Chinatown.
It all began with the opening in 1880 of the passage in the 16th century walls, baptizing the new customs gate with the name of Alexander Volta (That’s why Bring Vote). Gate that lived a brief period of splendor, when the walls, still present, were planted with trees and used for walks. Then the decision in the 50s to establish here the little trains from Giussano and Limbiate to Brianza, which led to the demolition of all this, including the walls and the trees (still present in the beautiful 1905 photo).
It was a terminal equipped with three tracks and a cantilevered open station designed by the great Arrigo Arrighetti (today defaced without restrictions). However, this station remained active for only a few years, since already in 1958 it was moved to via Valtellina because trams could not pass the newly built via Farini overpass, too steep for extra-urban tram convoys. So the clearing of tracks and concrete was used for coaches and as a car park, disgusting!
Since then, no one cared about this urban space anymore, including the two 19th century toll booths abandoned in total ruin, surrounded by now useless billboards, patched up walls, dirt and disorder. Every object or artifact in the square seems thrown at random, signs, tracks, cobblestones, asphalt, cars and the bike path, still unfinished to which it has been added for some years (unused or almost).
All the spaces of the Municipality and no, that if they had been better managed from the beginning, perhaps we would have a more beautiful and dignified urban space. Instead, the construction of the “horizontal pyramid” designed by the study of Herzog & de Meuron and completed in 2016. Sensational and iconic building without a doubt, but perhaps it could have been built elsewhere, leaving the area green and joining the one that now occupies the Lea Garofalo Garden on the opposite side of the toll booths, also arranging piazzale Baiamonti and viale Bastioni di Porta Volta, effectively joining Parco Sempione on a green line that would undoubtedly have brought benefits to all.
Instead nothing. The Municipality has granted the construction of the first block along viale Pasubio and then the one already planned in viale Montello, which is about to be built.
Management errors that are bringing out all its defects, as was to be desired. Neighborhood committees and more, in fact, even famous people from the Milan area have mobilized to protect that narrow green area between the toll booth and the Lea Garofalo garden (formerly occupied by a gas station).
Green defended with the teeth whose symbol is identified in the plant that completely covers the “patio” of the toll booth that occupies the Circle of Fighters and Veteranswhere stupendous purplish wisteria drapes the restaurant area like a hat (unfortunately obscured in part by hideous billboards on the side lanes).
As we said, a matter of days and the construction work of the new building of the already famous National Museum of the Resistancethe so-called twin and mirror pyramid (and much smaller) of the Feltrinelli and Microsoft building, also designed by the studio of Herzog & de Meuron.
HE the committees would like the building and museum to be moved by area, perhaps in the nearby Scalo Farini area, but as you can imagine, the project would have to be completely redone and would also imply new expenses and delays. In short, always in our opinion, the Municipality has always mismanaged this space and today it is forced to manage this umpteenth hot potato in its hands.
As we said, at Urbanfile we would have liked to see the area landscaped, the toll booths and the plaza restored (which seems silly to me), now we believe that it is impossible, the only thing, as many say, is to find the rescue system for the wisteria and linden trees already present.
We have tried to create a pergola on the false embankment where wisteria can climb (image below) which, at this point, it would be nice to also build on the other embankment, to harmonize the two sides of the toll booths (and then RESTORE THOSE TWO BOXES OF TOOLS, please!).
Image references: Roberto Arsuffi; Herzog and DeMeuron
Porta Volta, Herzog & De Meuron, Viale Montello, Viale Crispi, Viale Bastioni di Porta Volta, Piazza Baiamonti, National Museum of the Resistance
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