Named the MoLo (short for Mobility and Logistic hub), the complex is 28.5m high with a length of 170m and a width of 50m. Working with Architect Andrea Nonni, Open Project and Progeca, MAD’s design comprises an outside gross surface area of 68,800m2 and a gross surface area of 11,195m2, bringing together several facilities across over 11 square miles. The MoLo was designed to perform as a welcoming entrance and education space for issues related to mobility in which visitors can drop off their cars to explore the district on foot and see innovative transportation technology in person.
With seven levels above ground and one underground, the MoLo includes three 3000m2 of commercial space on the ground floor, as well as laboratories, offices and a supermarket. Visible from nearly all angles, however, the dazzling five-storey parking structure is the centrepiece of the MoLo. With a capacity of 1500 automobiles, the parking structure was designed as a gateway for those arriving from the Rho municipality and other main routes along the western half of MIND. Because the MoLo is situated on the border between two municipalities, the complex design aims to dissolve that separation through a public interchange tunnel crowned by a sculptural set of polished metal staircases.
Like several other projects by MAD Architects – including Gardenhouse in Beverly Hills and One River North in Denver, Colorado – the MoLo is designed as an integration of nature and architecture. The main facades, for instance, will be adorned with lush vegetation that will beautify the neighbourhood while capturing airborne carbon. The use of vertical landscaping as a design element also allows the MoLo to blend into the verdant landscaping of its surroundings visually. In addition, an open gallery near the public interchange tunnel cuts diagonally across the ground floor along the centre of the building in an effort to blur the boundary between indoor and outdoor while physically connecting the MoLo to the nearby Rho-Arese park. The ceiling of the gallery is marked by a large cloud-like sculpture that undulates in the direction of pedestrian movement.
True to the new district’s commitment to sustainability and 21st-century technological innovations, the MoLo will be assembled within a prefabricated concrete frame structure in accordance with the Design for Manufacturing and Assembly (DfMA) method, a standard for ensuring a streamlined and efficient construction process that reduces material waste and labour hours. In addition, the complex will be developed in accordance with the green building certification programme LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design), and will house a photovoltaic field of panels spanning more than 8000m2 on the upper surfaces that will act as an abundant source of renewable energy for the surrounding district.
The MoLo is the latest of many projects MAD has designed in Europe, following several installations for Milan Design Week and 71 Via Boncompagni, an adaptive reuse project located in the heart of Milan. Altogether, it weaves innovative functions with cutting-edge technology and striking form to demonstrate what the future holds for transportation systems in urban centres around the world.