Bicocca is a post-industrial quarter of Milan set in the area of the ex-Pirelli and Ansaldo factory, in their heydays the highest concentration of workers in the whole of Italy
(over 20.000).
In the 90s it became an intense regeneration area with several plans for its transformation, all under the direction of the architect Vittorio Gregotti and his studio. In the mid-nineties, together with Potzdamerplatz in Berlin, this was the largest area of post-industrial regeneration in Europe.
However, possibly also because of its contract to one single firm for its masterplanning and design of most of its buildings.
It is a strange soulless place lost in between an attempt to articulate a changeover between economic, political and social regime and the choice of creating large monolithic buildings plus the usual shopping centre and multiscreen cinema.
Some areas still remain empty and overall it feels highly contrived in its layout, with only the university of Milan's providing some life into it, and unsuccessful in stitching it back into the weave of the quarter that surrounds it. All the images are from March 2007 when I made a research into possibly doing a piece into one of the empty spaces.
The site ownership is still all in the hands of Pirelli Real Estate which leases out all the area and possibly for this reason stifles any more spontaneous occurrence.
The current attempt of turning it into a cultural quarter seems too top-down to be credible, with the arty crowds flocking only to the openings in the Hangar Bicocca..