“CASA COMUNE” Opening in Downtown Milan
After hosting EXPO 2015, Milan deeply changed and from that moment on has been thriving as a
brilliant international city. Milan has always been an international center, renowned for its fashion
industry, but after the inception and the global success of its “Design Week” (also known as “Salone del Mobile”) the city has become a cool spot, widely known around the world as the place to be, especially when it comes to design and architecture.
Success brought new opportunities which attracted many new people. The newcomers have been
flowing in from several different countries, some of them being well-educated workers while many
others are unskilled individuals. Due to the massive flow, some social, cultural and economic issues
began to arise. In fact, some specific areas of the city, where marginalized groups tend to concentrate, are witnessing increasing tensions among its inhabitants. Nolo (North Of LOreto) is one of them. It is an emerging neighborhood where life became much more complicated due to a massive immigration of unskilled workers.
Casa Comune is located in via Arquà 10, a street of Nolo inhabited by a highly diverse population. The street is also very close to the Architecture Facility of the “Politecnico di Milano”, one of the most prestigious universities in the country. Casa Comune is a very small apartment, designed to host two university students who are happy to share the tiny space in order to save some money. What makes the flat truly special, however, is not its location, nor its price, nor its size: it is the fact that it has been designed by a diverse team of architects, whose members are Jewish and Muslim, coming from Israel and Palestine. For several months, Mahmoud Ashmawi, Talal Quaddura, Munir Halil and David Noah have been working together collaboratively, happily and peacefully to create Casa Comune.
Interestingly, technology played an important role. In fact, none of the architects have seen the flat
before the very day of the opening and each member continued living in Tel Aviv, Riyadh, London and Milan. Concretely, they have worked on the project by having group calls on WhatsApp, by storing and sharing files on the cloud and by designing details through 3D computer graphic.
The apartment is made up of specific materials which were chosen with the overall idea of the
apartment in mind. Jerusalem stone was used to represent the land the apartment is inspired from. In addition, stone from both Palestine and Israel were used in conjunction with each other. Olive trees, popular in both lands, were included as a representation of peace, and lastly, iron and steel were used to symbolize the strong issues that featured the region and the weapons that have tore them apart.
The apartment has been thought of as a place to host the next generation of university students, who are the future of our society. Due to its proximity to the University, the flat will be rented out to
architecture students. The flat aims to inspire its guests by showing them that a future together is
indeed possible. In fact, they will be living within a true physical evidence of this co-existence.
The opening of the apartment will happen on the 21st of November. There will be representatives from both religious communities living in Milan, as well as representatives from several middle eastern countries. Representatives from other countries will also be in attendance as well as institutions in Milan.