Shenzhen, China
21 December 2019


Washington, DC
3 December 2019


Download all press images here


The world’s most visited architecture event, the Bi-City Biennale of Urbanism\Architecture of Hong Kong and Shenzhen (UABB), will be the first exhibition to use Facial Recognition and Artificial Intelligence on its own premises, in order to prompt a critical reflection on how digital technologies are impacting urban life. Set up in Hong Kong’s neighboring city of Shenzhen, the exhibition is called “Eyes of the City” and aims to explore the new urban condition of cities that can “see”. Entirely fabricated locally and interspersed in one of the halls of a high-speed railway station, it features original work by more than 60 acclaimed international exhibitors (more details below). The “Eyes of the City” section is curated by MIT professor Carlo Ratti (Chief Curator), Politecnico di Torino and SCUT (Academic Curators), who will unveil the final selection at the Biennale opening on December 21 st, 2019.


“At a time when urban technology and facial recognition are prompting polarization and conflict – from Hong Kong to San Francisco – our exhibition wants to provide a critical reflection,” says Carlo Ratti, director of the Senseable City Lab at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.


The “Eyes of the City” installations revolve around the following question: what happens when the sensor-imbued city acquires the ability to see – almost as if it had eyes? The exhibition premises will be in the newly inaugurated Futian high-speed railway station in Shenzhen, connecting Mainland China and Hong Kong in less than 15 minutes. Because of new technologies, stations themselves around the world, as well as other public spaces, are transitioning from spaces of anonymity to spaces of constant data gathering.


“As digital technology increasingly permeates our cities, railway stations are one of the public spaces that are likely to experience the strongest shift,” continues Ratti. “For a long time, stations have been places where one could experience urban anonymity at its highest form. Already today, they are becoming examples of a built environment that is able to recognize and respond to us in real time. In stations as well as in airports, we can already observe what an “Eyes of the City” scenario might look like and start a critical reflection about it.”


“We called upon all those practitioners who deal with cities – architects and urban planners but also economists and philosophers – to understand the impact of new technologies on our urban future,” says professor Michele Bonino from Politecnico di Torino. “The ‘Eyes of the City’ exhibition presents a new way to look at ourselves. We are grateful to UABB for giving us the opportunity to explore such themes with honesty and transparency at such a critical moment.”


“Eyes of the City” will be the first public exhibition to incorporate facial recognition technology on its very premises. Visitors will be facially scanned upon accessing the exhibition through the two info points, designed by leading Dutch practice MVRDV, on opposite ends of the venue. However, unlike all systems deployed in cities all over the world, everything will be based on transparency: cameras will be highlighted throughout the space and visitors who not wish to be recognized will wear a special mark on their face to remain anonymous, signaling their stance to others. “It is vital that we have the ability to opt-out, not only online, but also in the space of the digitally-augmented city,” adds Ratti.


Among the installations that underscore the “Eyes of the City” approach is the work by leading Chinese architect Yung Ho Chang, in which a series of upside-down telescopes invite us to “Look Back” at technology, advocating for a bidirectional relationship between mankind and the digital city: beyond its “Resisting technologies” section, the exhibition path will be divided into a series of sub-clusters devoted to exploring different fields in which the “Eyes of the City” can impact tomorrow’s urban landscape.


“The installations will deal with topics as diverse as Shenzhen’s transformation dynamics and collective memory, the transformations to urban infrastructure brought about by autonomous mobility, the increasing convergence between the natural and the artificial, and the ways in which A.I. might both support or disrupt design and construction processes,” adds Bonino. The list of practices and designers involved in the “Eyes of the City” exhibition includes names such as Baukuh, Cui Kai, Dominique Perrault Architecture, Future Firm, Jeanne Gang, Thomas Heatherwick, Liu Jian, Antoine Picon, Terreform ONE, XKool, Long Ying, J. Meejin Yoon, Liam Young, Philip F. Yuan, Zhang Li.


The “Eyes of the City” exhibition is the result of an “open-source curatorship” process. More than 280 applicants from across the world responded to an open call that was held earlier this year – from April, 1 to May, 30. Throughout the process, several leading international architects, designers, philosophers, scientists and writers were also involved as “foundational contributors”, to reflect on and respond to the underlying themes of the exhibition contained in the curatorial statement. The latter was inspired by the “eyes on the street” phrase coined by urban activist Jane Jacobs in the 1960s to convey how pivotal people are to urban spaces – from improving neighborhood safety to strengthening communities.


The “Eyes of the City” will be the world’s first architecture Biennale to be entirely produced on-site. As part of the “open source curatorship” approach, exhibitors have produced a series of Blueprints with detailed instructions on how to develop each installation. The Blueprints were first shared digitally with the curatorial team and then made available to Shenzhen based suppliers, who are currently finalizing the construction of all the installations. Later on, all projects will be made available online, so that anybody can download them and potentially reenact the Biennale. Inspired by the Fab Lab movements initiated by MIT professor Neil Gershenfeld, this choice acts as both a tribute to Shenzhen’s role as “factory of the world” and as a way to push the boundaries of open-source design, which relies on information shared digitally. This approach also made it possible to develop an entire Biennale virtually, without international shipping – reducing environmental impact.


The exhibition, which extends over a surface of more than 5,000 square meters, reacts to its transportation- hub location with a unique design, inspired by duty-free shopping areas. The creative spatial layout, devoid of clear gateways, was developed by CRA and Politecnico di Torino, while the visual language was conceived by the Dutch graphic designer Mieke Gerritzen.


“Eyes of the City” is one of the two main sections that form the 8 th edition of UABB, dedicated to the overarching theme of “Urban Interactions”. The other main section, called “Ascending Cities”, is curated by the leading Chinese academician Meng Jianmin and the Italian art critic Fabio Cavallucci.


“American historian of technology Melvin Kranzberg once stated that ‘technology is neither good nor bad; nor is it neutral,’” says Ratti. “One of the main objectives of the “Eyes of the City” exhibition is to encourage visitors to take a stance, shunning the dangerous option of neutrality. Using critical design as a tool, it seeks to create experiences that will encourage people to form an opinion.”

Exactly one year before the opening of the World Fair in Dubai (Expo 2020), Italy unveils the final design for its national pavilion, conceived by CRA-Carlo Ratti Associati, Italo Rota Building Office, matteogatto&associati and F&M Ingegneria. As if docking after a journey by sea, three boats will arrive in Dubai and become the backbone of the pavilion, part of an exploration into recycling, circularity and reconfigurable architecture. The Pavilion will open its doors to the public on October 20th, 2020, in Dubai, U.A.E., and will remain open until April 10th, 2021.


The radical design is based on a circular approach to architecture. Three boats will arrive in Dubai and will be converted into the pavilion’s roofscape. In a similar way, the project integrates sustainable materials – such as orange peels, coffee grounds, mycelium and recycled plastic extracted from the ocean – as construction elements.


The pavilion is exposed to the atmosphere, using natural climate control strategies instead of air conditioning. Space is delimited by an adaptable façade made of LED curtains and nautical ropes, which will create a digital layer able to broadcast multimedia content.


“We liked the idea of a pavilion that would continuously mutate into different forms,” says Carlo Ratti, founding partner of CRA practice and director of the MIT Senseable City Lab at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). “We  pursued a kind of architecture that could be reconfigured both in the long term – because of its circularity – and in the short term – thanks to digital technologies.”


“The pavilion is circular in nature. Nothing goes to waste; instead, we reclaim it and reimagine its purpose,” says architect Italo Rota, founding partner of Italo Rota Building Office. “The sea will figuratively enter the structure through one of its living organisms, seaweeds, which will be used to produce energy and food.”


The pavilion’s roof is a sinuous surface that recalls sea and desert waves. The base of the pavilion is carved out of a giant sand dune, accessible to people. The project makes a conscious effort to integrate materials that hint at Dubai’s local geography, as well as organic waste to experiment with more sustainable building practices and engage with the circular economy. For instance, the exhibition will stretch over a dune made with real sand, while the skywalk will be clad in innovative materials obtained from discarded orange peels and used coffee grounds.


The project explores the importance of history, tradition and memory in sparking innovation, while paying tribute to the seafaring populations that have inhabited the Mediterranean basin through history, shaping a common cultural heritage.


“Italy brings an Innovation Hub to Expo 2020,” says Paolo Glisenti, General Commissioner for Italy at Expo Dubai 2020. “A pavilion with an innovative structure, inspired by the most advanced elements of sustainability and circular economy, which will not simply be an exhibition venue, but a demonstration of Italian competence and the best national talent”.


The pavilion continues CRA’s ongoing experimentation with innovative exhibition structures at World Fairs. Previous projects include the Digital Water Pavilion, a water-based structure at Expo Zaragoza 2008 that employed sensors to interpret and react to people’s movements–and was named by Time magazine one of the “Best Inventions of the Year”– and the Future Food District, an interactive retail space developed for Expo Milan 2015.

CRA-Carlo Ratti Associati, in partnership with global energy company Eni, has developed an experimental Circular Juice Bar that uses oranges to make bioplastic, turns it into filament, and 3D print disposable cups to drink the freshly-squeezed juice.


The “Feel the Peel” prototype is a 3,10-meter high orange squeezer machine, topped by a dome filled with 1,500 oranges. When a person orders a juice, oranges slide down into the squeezer, while its peels are accumulated above, then transformed into bioplastic through a process of drying and milling. Once heated and melted, the polymer becomes a filament, used by a 3D printer incorporated into the machine.


“The principle of circularity can be an inspiration for tomorrow’s everyday life objects”, says Carlo Ratti, founding partner at CRA and director of the Senseable City Lab at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology: “Working with Eni, we played around a machine that helps us to understand how oranges can be used well beyond their juice. In the next iterations of these projects, we might add new functions, such as printing fabric for clothing”.


After having premiered at Rimini’s 40th Meeting for friendship among peoples, the Circular Juice Bar will be installed also at the Singularity University Summit in Milan on October 8 and 9 in Milan, and at Ecomondo Rimini in November, the leading event in Europe for the new models of the circular economy.

CRA-Carlo Ratti Associati unveils the world’s first crowdsourced graffiti, designed by thousands of people and painted by a swarm of drones in the city of Torino, Italy. The large-scale painting (14×12-meter, or 46×39-foot) was developed as part of UFO-Urban Flying Opera, a participatory technology and art project funded by Compagnia di San Paolo, ideated and curated by CRA, and produced by Fondazione LINKS, in collaboration with Tsuru Robotics.


The final vertical graffiti was created by four UAVs (Unmanned Aerial Vehicles) flying simultaneously over two consecutive days. Each drone carried a tank of sustainable spray paint and sketched the individual designs on the canvas. The final painting was divided in three layers: A gray one to set the story, a magenta one to represent Torino’s communities and public spaces, and a light blue one to visually wrap the storytelling.


The experiment in Torino’s Aurelio Peccei park, on the outskirts of the city, represented the first time a swarm of drones was employed to create a collaborative piece of art on a vertical surface. A central management system controlled the UAVs’ behavior in real time, and a monitoring system tracked their precise location, allowing for movement coordination across the entire formation. The drone performance took place on June 25th and 26th, 2019, in a cathedral-like industrial structure that used to belong to Italian car manufacturer Iveco. The event was part of the Italian Tech Week.


Project participants were invited to contribute visual content that would convey their thoughts, hopes and ideas regarding what cities should look like. More than one thousand people submitted their designs, out of which around 100 were selected in partnership with the University of Turin and the Polytechnic University of Turin. Participants used about 620 meters (2,034 feet) of paint.


“The city is an open canvas, where people can inscribe their stories in many ways,” says professor Carlo Ratti, founder of CRA practice and director of the Senseable City Lab at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT): “Such processes have always been happening; however, with UFO we tried to accelerate them, using drone technology to allow for a new use of painting as a means of expression.”

How will urban highways look like in 2050? Can they be transformed from urban and social barriers into flexible spaces for living, playing and farming? These are some of the questions addressed by the “New Deal” explored by design and innovation office CRA-Carlo Ratti Associati, as part of a curatorial team led by SEURA Architectes, alongside Jornet Llop Pastor Arquitectes, landscapers Anna Cervera and Marina Zahonero, and Leonard, VINCI Group’s foresight platform. As urban mobility is being reshaped by technological innovations – from EV (Electric vehicles) and AV (Autonomous Vehicles) to data-driven multimodality – the exhibition will explore the future of the French capital’s famous “Peripherique” ring road. The “New Deal” is part of the “Les Routes du Futur du Grand Paris” exhibition, organized by the Forum Métropolitain du Grand Paris and opening at the Pavilion de l’Arsenal on June 6th 2019 (until August 31st 2019).


Drawing from scientific research, including that carried out at Carlo Ratti’s MIT Senseable City Lab, the exhibition envisions how Paris’ highways might look like in 2050. By then, autonomous mobility and new technologies will have transformed the mobility landscape, allowing cities to completely rethink 20th-century road infrastructure, hopefully with positive social and environmental consequences.


The “New Deal” presents five visions to transform the main highways of Paris’ metropolitan area:


The first two visions for 2050 are dedicated to the “Boulevard Peripherique,” the (in)famous highway circling the French capital, like a necklace, for more than 35 kilometers, sometimes running slightly below ground. In “Habiter Le Lateralité” (“Living Laterality”), the current number of car lanes is more than halved, and the remaining space is converted into a reconfigurable playground. In “Habiter les Dessus” (“Living Above”), a series of green residential buildings are placed over the Peripherique almost like a set of inhabitable bridges, recomposing a historical fracture between the two Paris’: that of the historical city and that of the banlieues. Such changes are permitted by EVs and AVs, which could make our roads cleaner, less polluted and safer.


The other visions on show at the Pavilion de l’Arsenal are dedicated to three increasingly suburban highways in the Ile de France region, proposing new functions like energy production and farming. “La voie monde” (“The street of the world”) envisions how the gigantic A6 French highway can go from having 12 to four car lanes, using the central part for greenhouses or for a photovoltaic plant to generate solar energy while slashing heat production. “Multimodalite Partout” (“Multimodality Everywhere”) and “La Voie Dynamique” (“The Dynamic Road”) leverage on real-time mobility data to create new public spaces and allow commuters to get to their destination more efficiently.

International design and innovation office CRA-Carlo Ratti Associati has won the “Reinventing Cities” competition organized by the C40 Cities Climate Leadership Group with a project for a new office building and center for scientific research in Milan, Italy. The design by CRA features a 200-meter-long (650 feet) urban vineyard that covers the entire building, creating a publicly-accessible footpath that ascends from the street level to the rooftop. The project was developed with the leading real estate group Covivio in a team with the consortium Habitech as environmental experts. Construction will kick off in late 2019.


The Reinventing Cities competition, promoted by the C40 network of the world’s megacities committed to addressing climate change, is a call for urban projects to drive carbon-neutral and resilient urban regeneration across the globe and to transform underutilized sites into beacons of sustainability and resilience.  VITAE has won the competition to reinvent a vacant, post-industrial lot in via Serio, a street in south Milan located a few hundred meters from the Fondazione Prada contemporary art museum. The complex includes a brand-new piazza, adding up to a total of more than 5000 square meters of public space given back to one of the city’s most vibrant neighborhoods.


Inspired by the principles of biophilic design, the project takes its name from VITAE, a word whose meaning is “life” in Latin and “vine” in Italian. A green path with a vine-covered pergola gently rises along the walls of the building, creating an extensive promenade for pedestrians. The people who stroll through this green spiral can pass close to a series of terraces and greenhouses for urban farming and hydroponic cultivation.


The VITAE building will host a farm-to-table restaurant on the ground level, high-tech offices above, and a series of facilities for the leading molecular and oncology research center ICOM, including terraced guest rooms for its international researchers, on the higher floors. This array of functions seeks to create a harmony between nature and science, public and private life, like a reinterpretation of the social and spatial model of the Charterhouses, such as Milan’s Abbazia di Chiaravalle, located just a few kilometers away from the site of VITAE.

CRA-Carlo Ratti Associati, in partnership with global energy company Eni, has developed an architectural structure made of mushrooms, unveiled at Milan Design Week 2019. The installation, called “The Circular Garden,” was grown from soil over six weeks – and will be returned to the soil at the end of the month. It is composed of a series of arches, adding up to a record 1-kilometer-long mycelium, and experiments with sustainable structures that can grow organically and then return to nature in a fully circular way. The project will be showcased during Milan’s Fuorisalone at Brera’s Orto Botanico, the city’s botanical garden.


The Circular Garden pushes the boundaries of using mycelium – the fibrous root of mushrooms – in design. In recent years, mycelium has been employed for sustainable packaging and small brick-like objects. The Circular Garden engages with mycelium at the architectural scale – with a series of 60 4-meter-high arches made of mycelium scattered around the Orto Botanico, for a total of 1 kilometer of mushroom.


In order to create self-supporting mycelium structures on such a scale, the project takes inspiration from the great Catalan architect Antoni Gaudí. It was he, while designing the Sagrada Familia in Barcelona, who resurrected the “inverted catenary” method pioneered in the 18th -century by polymath Giovanni Poleni. According to this method, the best way to create pure compression structures is to find their form using suspended catenaries and then invert them. The same applies to the Circular Garden, where the catenaries compose a series of four architectural “open rooms” scattered throughout the garden.


The mycelium was grown in the two months preceding the opening of the Circular Garden with the help of leading experts in the field of mycology – particularly the Dutch Krown.Bio lab. Spores were injected into organic material to start the growth process. In a similarly organic manner, all the mycelium will be shredded at the end of Milan Design Week and go back to the soil, in a circular way. The cycle is similar to what has happened since ancient times in small town or city gardens, through the production of food and the composting of organic waste.


“Nature is a much smarter architect than us,” says Carlo Ratti, founding partner of CRA and director of the MIT Senseable City Lab: “As we continue our collective quest for a more responsive ‘living’ architecture, we will increasingly blur the boundaries between the worlds of the natural and the artificial. What if tomorrow we might be able to program matter to ‘grow a house’ like a plant? Milan’s amazing botanical garden, in the center of the city, seemed the ideal place for such an experiment.”

“There’s a whimsical short story written by Italian writer Italo Calvino in the 1960s that tells of the wonder of the urbanite Marcovaldo when he suddenly discovers some mushrooms growing in the middle of the city. During our first visits at the Botanical Garden in Milan, we felt a similar amazement,” comments Saverio Panata, project manager at CRA: “We discovered how many varieties of mushrooms were naturally growing in the garden. After that encounter, we thought that mushrooms, with their adaptability and speed of growth, could become our perfect building material.”

Many pavilions designed for temporary exhibitions and fairs – such as for Milan Design Week – end up generating large amounts of waste. The Circular Garden project will be reused in a circular fashion – mushrooms, ropes and wood chips will go back to the soil and small metal elements will be recycled. “Life is more important than architecture,” Oscar Niemeyer famously said, a dictum that is at the center of this year’s theme at the INTERNI Human Spaces exhibition. “It is certainly about human life – but it is also increasingly about the life of our planet, intended in a holistic way,” adds Ratti.

International design and innovation office CRA-Carlo Ratti Associati has unveiled the Greenary, a renovated farmhouse designed around a 10-meter-high (32-feet-high) Ficus growing within the main living area. Living quarters encircle the tree’s leafy branches up to the top. The Greenary will be built in the countryside close to Parma, Northern Italy as a private residence. It is the first step of the master plan for Mutti, the leading tomato company, which CRA won in 2017 after an international competition. The house and the factory are being developed in close continuity due to their physical proximity and their joint call for a closer integration between nature and the built environment.


The Greenary is not a tree-house or a house on a tree, but a house designed around a tree. Life unfolds in sync with a 50-year old Ficus, a perennial tropical plant housed in the middle of the farmhouse’s south hall. All around the tree, a sequence of interconnected rooms creates six domestic spaces – three above the entrance, three below it – each of them dedicated to a specific activity: practicing yoga, listening to music, reading, eating together, sharing a drink, and keeping a wine cellar and storing dry cured ham for aging. Each space is at a different level of the tree, a 3-dimensional sequence that follows Adolf Loos’ principle of Raumplan.


The project starts from the spiritual symbolism of the Ficus tree, whose various species are revered in many parts of the world: the Ficus religiosa is venerated by Buddhists as the Bodhi tree, under which Siddhartha achieved enlightenment, while the Ficus microcarpa adorns the ancient parks of Guangzhou in China. The plant is well-suited for indoor living conditions, as it enjoys stable temperatures all year long. To create the ideal setting for the tree to thrive, CRA has completely redesigned the old farmhouse to maximize natural light through a 10-meter-high (33-feet-high) south-facing glass wall.


We wanted the design to reflect our innate ‘biophilia,’ the natural impulse to connect with other forms of life, as put forward by the great Harvard biologist Edward O. Wilson,” says Carlo Ratti, founding partner at CRA practice and director of the MIT Senseable City Lab at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT): “With the Greenary, we are trying to imagine a new domestic landscape built around the rhythm of nature.


The Greenary puts forward the idea of living inside-out – based on the principle of biophilia. Its dining room sits at the bottom of the 10-meter-high (33-feet-high) glass wall: it is built slightly below ground level, so that the top of the table has the same level of the grass outside. Diners can look out onto the vast orchard where donkeys and other animals stroll.


Inhabiting each of the rooms will be a bit like inhabiting a tree,” says Andrea Cassi, Project Manager at CRA, talking about the south hall: “As the project breaks down traditional separations between rooms and floors, the Ficus becomes the organizing principle of a contemporary interpretation of the Raumplan for the age of BIM. Every level provides a different perspective on nature.”


The Greenary complex has a total internal space of 800 square meters (8611 square feet). Its call for a closer integration between nature and the built environment is also fundamental to CRA’s master plan for the neighboring Mutti factory. The renovation of the Greenary will start in fall 2018 and be completed in late 2019.


International design and innovation practice CRA-Carlo Ratti Associati is working with Indian non-profit organization WeRise to develop Livingboard, the prototype of a portable “motherboard system” to improve housing conditions in rural parts of India. Livingboard encourages an open-source approach to design, allowing people to build their own dwellings on top of a prefabricated core. The first pilot is currently under study for development in the Indian state of Karnataka, near Bangalore.


Livingboard is a flexible “core” system to support the development of housing initiatives in any rural area of the world. This core must be positioned horizontally, constituting the floor of a 12-square meter room (3x4m).  It can provide, depending on the geography and infrastructure of the region in question, water storage and distribution, water treatment through filtration, waste management, heating, batteries to accumulate PV-generated electricity and wi-fi connectivity. Also, from a structural point of view, it provides seismic isolation by separating the building’s superstructure from the substructure.


Made of low-cost materials that can be flat-packed, Livingboard also pays homage to 20th-century US inventor Richard Buckminster Fuller and his dream of “air-deliverable buildings,” by which he meant “whole cities [that] can be flown to any location around the world […] just as fleets of ships can come in to port and anchor in one day, or be off for other parts of the world.” Today, Livingboard can potentially be carried by helicopters or even drones so as to reach any remote location.


Livingboard revolves around the idea that housing should not be a static unit that is packaged and handed over to people, but rather should be conceived of as an ongoing project wherein the residents are co-creators. In this way, the design is constantly evolving, allowing users to choose the features that work most effectively for them. The pilot currently under development for the Karnataka region aims to respond to the area’s climate and environmental conditions – characterized by a low precipitation rate – by treating and recycling homes’ greywater to irrigate agricultural fields.


“The Maker movement has shown how empowering it is to put the new fabrication tools in the hands of people,” says Professor Carlo Ratti, founder of CRA practice and Director of the Senseable City Lab at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). “An important challenge for the next years will be to apply the same principle to construction – transferring the DIY attitude of Fab Labs to housing. This is the vision behind our design for Livingboard.”

International design and innovation practice CRA-Carlo Ratti Associati has worked with Australian real estate group Lendlease to develop the schematic design for the University of Milan’s new Science Campus, Science for Citizens. The design proposes a rethink of the traditional university court or cloister, with maker spaces and parametric brick facades assembled by robots. The new Campus will be located within MIND (Milan Innovation District), the innovation park under development on the former site of Milan’s 2015 World Expo – also based on a general master plan by CRA. In the framework of a public-private partnership scheme, the project sets the basis for a tender dealing with the project financing, which will open in fall 2018.


The design responds to the decision by Milan’s largest university to move its scientific disciplines to a new campus – from the Città Studi area in eastern Milan to MIND. The project puts forward a vision for an open campus that becomes a testing ground for innovative methods for education, while fostering exchanges between the university and the surrounding neighborhood. The Science Campus will host over 18,000 students and almost 2,000 researchers.


“The modern university campus was developed in Italy around the year 1000. Its principles have kept informing the design of higher education spaces for over a millennium now – from the Oxbridge colleges to the French Grandes Ecoles to the contemporary American campuses,” says Carlo Ratti, founding partner at CRA and director of the MIT Senseable City Lab: “However, today MOOCs, learning by making, continuous education and so on demand a fundamental rethinking of the architecture of the university – fostering more interactions both inside the community and outside it (“town and gown”). This challenge is what inspired us in developing the design for the new campus for one of the world’s greatest universities.”


The project by CRA, extending over an area of more than 150,000 square meters (1.6 million square feet), is based on some fundamental principles, like the courts, the parametric bricks, the idea of a common ground and open university and the harmony between city and nature.


In late July 2018, the Board of Directors of the University approved Lendlease’s proposal for a public-private partnership for the construction of the Campus. The Lendlease project provides a concession for the construction and management of campus services for the next 30 years. The next step is the preparation of the tender for the actual development of the Campus.


The Science for Citizens Campus will be located within MIND, whose master plan was also designed by CRA and first presented in November 2017, when Lendlease won the international competition held by public company Arexpo to build an innovation district on the former area of 2015 Milan World Expo. MIND extends on a surface of 1 million square meters (10 million square feet), and it will feature a one-mile long linear park and the first neighborhood planned for self-driving vehicles, applying the “common ground” principle to the entire area.