Urban transformation

TYPE: Urban transformation
YEAR: 2019
TEAM: Ximing Zhong\ Penghui Xu\ Jin Li
CATEGORY: Architecture -built environment – interiors

The Naviglio Grande project aims to reconstruct the relationship between the Naviglio Grande and its surrounding spatial elements in the urban evolution of Milan, so as to form a spatial sequence that emphasizes “past, present, future”. 

From the plaza to the museum, from the river to the bridge, the project continues and interprets the texture of the old city in a modern way.


▼The canal’s history and status quo

▼A new spatial sequence is created according to the boundary and threshold of the city


Piazza Tirana, which represents the spirit of the contemporary Milanese city, will be lightly intervened, emphasizing the connection to the texture of urban fabric and giving the sequence a directionality. The design of bridge is not only the physical connection between the rails and the canal, but also the reproduction of the naviglio infrastructure memory. The “past” links present and future and gives more possibilities for integration between divers elements.The main body of museum that represents the “future” has been proposed by us as an open relationship between architecture and landscape. The main language of the slash is the contemporary continuation and interpretation of the texture of the old city, emphasizing the centripetal relationship in the axial direction. Local elements such as water and plants are reproduced again. From Piazza Tirana to the new main museum it can considered as a holistic museum systemarticle.

▼Organization of Spatial Relationships


Story Telling

I am impressed by professor Guya (dean of the School of Urban Design, Politecnio DE Milan), who has studied the spirit of canal persistence into old age since he was young.We created a story about the canal Museum, where an old man walks backwards along the line of our design from the bridge of the Grand Canal, getting younger and younger, and finally sees a young portrait of himself in the museum, with no eyes. On one level, we pay tribute to professor Guya’s lifelong study of urban morphology, and on the other level, this man without eyes expresses Modigliani, an Italian artist who lived in poverty all his life and died on his way home as a young man before people recognized his value after his death. His only painting with eyes depicts his wife as when I know your soul I will draw your eyes.

▼Space Narrative



Start with an abstract operation, strip away useless things, aim at key landscape and environmental characteristics, and reshape the space relationship of the Grand Canal design. Return architecture to reality, and reality cannot be revealed through a simple montage, it can only be presented through a montage guided by a lens that records those measurements of the earth. Through the montage lens, we will create a new spatial and historical order by using the texture of the buildings around the canal, history, artificial landscape, natural landscape, time memory, and the film used as the connection lens.


▼Boundary and Connection

The museum building is like an urban camera that captures the scenes of the museum and the water through the reconstruction of the physical space of the building, and uses this landscape as part of the museum elements.

▼Urban Camera

▼Past, Present and Future


Architecture and landscape construction are linked to real life, the latter being depicted in the background, creating a “slightly warm” landscape. The newly involved architectural space is more like a picture frame depicting the architectural background, creating order on the two axes of the Grand Canal. An axis connects the people on both sides of the Grand Canal, and an oblique axis intervenes in people’s living space. Through the drawings we can see the texture relationship between the building and the sky and the ground and the Grand Canal and the water.

▼Action Space