Dropcity Shaping-Up Well In The Abandoned Milan Tunnels

There is a stunning example of adaptive reuse that has come to the fore. A series of tunnels that have been abandoned behind the Central Station in Milan have co-opted for a platform of a varied kind. The subways, starting April 12, 2024, are getting reconstructed in real time by way of a hybrid blend of 3D printing as well as building partnerships on a platform of ideas by next-gen researchers, architects, curators, and also designers. The project is called Dropcity by its founder and architect, Andrea Caputo.

All across the year, Dropcity will go on to develop into a meeting place that’s desperately needed where designers and architects can go on to collaborate by way of experimentation and innovation.

Although the interconnected tunnels happen to be auto-constructing quite literally, they are going to be hosting a range of exhibition talks, experiments, live architectural interventions, and also DJ sets, thereby bringing to life the processes, technologies, and thinking that would shape contemporary creative life.

The center, which is part urban culture center and part research cluster, is going to build off Milan’s rich architectural as well as design heritage, thereby offering an accessible third space when it comes to the next generation of designers and architects.

It is well to be noted that there happen to be over 12,000 practicing architects in Milan and many more designers, and hence a place where dialogue can be cultivated is essential. With an expanse of almost 10,000 square meters, these creative minds can go on to imagine better ways when it comes to practicing and cultivating new ideas and also helping with their execution.

The whole space will be built so as to accommodate robotics, carpentry workshops, prototypes that are advanced, spaces for exhibition and also offices and also a much-needed civil architecture library along with a growing material database. Following a major storm in 2023 that resulted in numerous trees falling and causing infrastructure damage, a call was made to reimagine the spaces. Caputo’s plan to have trees in the tunnels’ internal roofs went a great deal toward securing the project.

The project happens to have recruited experts from Kiel University in Germany, SOCII, a Tbilisi-based building collective, and also WASP, the Italian 3-D printing leader, which is going to design the modular partition walls as well as blocks that can be assembled together. Apparently, the visitors at the site can as well watch the space being constructed around them. Caputo says that we are all living in a paradigm shift era in which traditional structures, when it comes to designing, living, and believing, happen to be exposed as being obsolete.

There is indeed a requirement which is set for a systematic shift in both architecture and design that is oriented toward cooperation and pluralism, and Caputo hopes that Dropcity is going to be a major contributor to this movement.

The project is officially slated to open permanently in 2024 fall, whereas the materials library and the public library are going to open to the public in 2025.