Il Borgo Sostenibile, Figino, Milán

This project represents an innovative model of urban development, in which tradition and modernity have come silently together to strengthen and generate a truly sustainable development.

This project was developed in conjunction with Luigi Centola de Centola & Associati, our partner in Italy and one of the most renowned names in Sustainable Architecture in Europe.

The action is taken over a total of approximately 48,000 m2 and is situated in Figino, one of the towns that form the outer belt of Milan, at about 15 km northeast.

The basic objective of the project is the development of social housing, associated with a large quantity of services in order to favour an urban model connected with the city of Milan but at the same time self-sufficient.

The proposal does not only try to create a pleasant urban extension for its inhabitants, but also intends to improve their lives, their social relations, their activities and the economy of the region through a truly healthy, productive and efficient model. A Social and Sustainable Urban Model.

The execution of the project involves 12 courtyards, all of them irregular and open, recovering the traditional aspect of the urban fabric of the area. The courtyards become a nexus between the different types of buildings designed and, at the same time, accommodate service areas and community vegetable gardens which provide for the population and form part of the basic economy.

The complex includes a school, a retirement home, restaurants, sports club, integrated commercial area, children’s playground area, energy courtyard, etc.

Such a model of integrated services and areas increases the sustainability and productivity level of the project, and avoids the circulation of people, materials and products across long distances.

The development distinguishes itself for a balanced integration between tradition and innovation. Moreover, there is no dominant or recognizable character. The courtyards are a hybrid between new and traditional and none of them is closed or isolated, with the idea of opening up to the surrounding landscape and creating different visual spaces. The complex has the flexibility of being developed in stages and includes housing of 50, 70 and 100 m2.

Traffic is not permitted in the interior of the complex; there is a pedestrian boulevard which goes through the village and connects the various courtyards, thus creating a main artery in which the majority of services can be found.

Il Borgo Sostenible

The final structure is organized so to favour natural ventilation and sun exposure in the village. CFD (Computational Fluid Dynamic) analyses were carried out on the various alternatives until the best behaviour in relation to wind and sun was identified.

The highly innovative building system, which employs integrated formwork and which has already been successfully adopted in other countries, allows a 15% saving on the traditional construction costs; at the same time it implies a 10% reduction in energy consumed during the construction stage and generates an 80% less waste than the traditional building systems. In addition to these advantages, the time of execution is reduced by 12%, compared to the present time.

Sistema Constructivo
The energetic system designed for the complex and the C02 balance finally obtained are highly efficient thanks to our project.

The thermal supply is based on a centralized system with renewable generation through Biomass. Thanks to the adequate design of the buildings and the simultaneous effect, the end power of the central is quite lower than in individual or partially centralized systems. The complex has a photovoltaic system, which is economically possible thanks to the savings in building costs. Finally, the project’s electrical energy is supplied by the photovoltaic system while the thermal energy is supplied by the specially designed District Heating (DH). The complex does not use up all the energy of the photovoltaic system, so part of it is sold at the rates established in Italy by the law "Conto energia", thus generating income for the Home Owners Association each year. This income is used to buy part of the Biomass necessary for the thermal system, on the local market.

The rest is used to improve the services (training, maintenance, health, etc.) each year, or to return to the users part of their initial inversion, lowering even more (each year) the cost of their home.


The need for Biomass is partly covered by the Biomass bought on the local market and partly by the one generated in our own project through the waste produced by the gardens, green areas and small orchards in the courtyards.

Finally, the CO2 Balance result is Zero. We could even state that it is negative, because the complex requires CO2 to produce Biomass.