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Through Thresholds

Looking at Passante on google maps we found the social housing in Lorenteggio. The project initially gave the sense that there would be a lack of life in between buildings as well as very strict and repetitive architecture.

Approaching Lorenteggio from San Christoforo station, you are lead into the main artery that passes through Lorenteggio. The artery is made of a two way street as wide as the streets leading up to the project, however, due to the repetition of the housing blocks you become aware of a street space. In the street space there are many teenagers and young adults hanging out on balustrades which define a square in which a tree is planted, two young adults chase a teenager jovially, laughing. The size of the space allows for more noise and movement.

Lining the street are big gates leading into courtyards, the gates are closed, some are locked. A few metres from the big gate is a smaller pedestrian gate under roof cover, the small gate leads to a small entryway with postboxes, a noticeboard and a door into what seems like the courtyard managers office, the space is dark and small and at this point you feel the need to ask for permission to go any further, they are very strong thresholds into another space. These are the commonalities among the small entryways besides them everything is different.


Once inside the courtyard you are shaded by big trees or tall buildings, the space feels narrower but taller, often there is someone looking at you, sometimes there’s nobody else in the space. In one courtyard some adults sit and talk after a day of working, in another some children play with scooters and skateboards close to the door of an apartment block, and often you find bikes and prams are kept stored under balconies, unchained.

The images taken attempt to show the typology of the courtyard, both their differences and similarities and how they are defined by the thresholds you need to go through before being inside.

The courtyards make up a lot of the character of the housing project which has a lot of activity within it, however, as the development of Milan causes for changes such as new metro stop in the middle of the project and library adjacent to the east of the buildings, there is the question of whether it means change for the current character of the apartments. If the place is to unfortunately change in the near future we hope to have some documentation of how it is today.

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