Velodrome Maspes – Vigorelli Building, Architecture Competition Milan, Italy

Velodrome Maspes – Vigorelli

Architecture Competition in northern Italy – design issues

1 Aug 2013

Design competition for the new Velodrome Maspes – Vigorelli in Milan

Location: Milan, Italy

Petition: Let’s renew the Vigorelli of Milan, for all sports and for all citizens

Milan Housing
image © Vittorio Grassi Architetto

The Velodrome Maspes – Vigorelli is a building with a glorious history, however, it is currently underused due to congenital problems of poor functional flexibility and the inadequacy to current sporting and safety regulations. The design competition, launched by the Milan Municipality at the end of 2012, wanted to remedy this unstoppable deterioration looking for solutions that would bring the building to a new life through greater usability and economic sustainability that would not weigh on the pockets of the community.

The competition, which ended on April 19 this year, has enjoyed great success and the participation of 103 design groups, several of which internationally renowned.

Only after the conclusion of the design competition, the Ministry of Heritage and Culture has launched a procedure for verification of cultural interest on the building and, more precisely, a measure of protection for the wood cycling track. We fear that now, considering the money already recollected and allocated, this constraint on the runway may compromise the usability of the winning project and, therefore, the entire economic feasibility of the intervention.

If this were to happen it would be a missed opportunity for Sport in Milan and a blow to the morale of all the young professionals who, like me, are forced to look with optimism to the future of Italy.

We want the Maspes – Vigorelli back to being a resource for the community: for school children in particular, for young people who play team sports, for associations, for cyclists, for rugby players, for American football and field hockey fans, and for regular citizens who want to enjoy the sports as spectators. The only way to honor the memory of those sport personalities that made the building world famous.

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images © Vittorio Grassi Architetto

The winning project
The project, which has raised the consensus of the Milan Municipality and of a large part of the Milanese, intends to renew the Maspes – Vigorelli in a building purely dedicated to sports, but with the required flexibility to accommodate as many sports and events as possible and to be used for as long as possible throughout the year.

The removal of the existing cycling track is a must to make the playground accessible and evacuable safely by four large openings on the corners. Without the track, the aisles of the new facility will be able to house a Sports Academy, a gym, a sports medicine center, training rooms and a guest house, the Vigorelli Museum and a commercial space dedicated to sports.

It’s necessary to remember that the winning project already meets the requirements of the Soprintendenza di Milano (Superintendent of Milan) set in the notice of the competition; namely: the restoration of the facades, of the rectilinear stands, locker rooms and spaces under them, in addition to the conservation of a large portion of the track in the purpose-built museum.

The Wooden Track
In summary, the base reasons for removal of the wooden track (shared by many participants in the contest) are:

1. The track is underused for some forty years: Not used from ‘75 to ‘85, buried under the snow that year and rebuilt almost from scratch in ‘86.
In ’98 it met its final international cycling event, and the last ever in 2001. Over the past 15 years, nor the private operators nor any associations or movement have expressed any concrete and financially sustainable interest for the use of the track.

2. Today, sports competitions and training sessions are held on indoors tracks of 250 m (not 400m like in the Vigorelli) as prescribed by the International Cycling Union. The current wooden track is clearly dangerous if it is open to the public and cyclists.

The historic outdoor Herne Hill Velodrome in London, run by associations, is often worn as a virtuous example. Its low cost maintenance is because it is not made out of wood but concrete and, since 2011, it is covered with “tarmac”. With respect to the outdoor Velodrome “Pierino Baffi” of Crema, subject to protection for its historic value since November 2007, sorry to point out that it is now closed for more than a year (31 May 2012) and has become a dormitory for the homeless.

Even there, the track is of concrete and not wood and to update it to norms it would be needed one million and 600 thousand euro.
It might then strike the idea of the covering the Maspes Vigorelli; but this would be impossible. It would not be enough an additional 20 million Euros to the 18 available for the construction of our project. The London Olympic Velodrome, which has a long track of “only” 250 m and a capacity of 6,000 spectators, cost 130 million euro.

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images © Vittorio Grassi Architetto

The current track, with its size and its closed loop, is a serious constraint on accessibility to the central field and a limit to the multi-functionality of the building. Sport amateurs and a large proportion of athletes of emerging sports today are in fact excluded from the building.

Who wants to keep the wooden track and the whole building for cycling, does not understand that the new project does not excludes cycling, on the contrary, it is the only way, by using a more efficient track that can be dismantled, to keep alive the building and to return to cycling Maspes – Vigorelli.

Sports equipment, as it is considered a cycling track, should be updated and safe. If I may say so, it is as if you wanted to continue to run at the Arena Civica di Milan on a clay athletics track instead of synthetic, or play football at the Stadio San Siro with square wooden posts at the goal.
Would all of this it have any sense today?

Spending money to restore a bulky equipment, that has already been partially rebuilt, dangerous and excluding professional and amateur athletes it would be really a waste of public money.
We therefore ask that the track to be removed in its overall size and to keep only a portion as historical memory in the new museum.

From a clear and objective debate, we are sure that it can bring advantages to all the sports in Milan.

Yours sincerely
Arch. Giorgio Veronelli (young professional of the competition winner team)

Sign the petition – you connect to the link below,
put your name, e-mail address, your role in civil society and click:

Velodrome Maspes – Vigorelli in Milan : Petition link

Petition: Let’s renew the Vigorelli of Milan, for all sports and for all citizens information / images received from Vittorio Grassi Architetto & Partners, Milano

Location: Velodrome Maspes, Vigorelli, Milan, Lombardy, northern Italy

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