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BIOPHILIUM THE VISION OF A LIVING, SHARED AGRICULTURAL AND MATERIAL SCIENCE LABORATORY.


biophilium is the portmanteau between the words biophilia, that means love for life and vital processes and castrum, a typology of Roman camp.

POLITECNICO DI MILANO TOWN PLANNING DESIGN WORKSHOP 2017-2018

OMID BAKHTIARIFARD

DESISLAVA DIMITROVA

LUCA MEDIOLI

A special thank to Grazia Rulli from BASF and Matteo Beccatelli from University of Parma.

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THIS IS NOT A PROJECT. BIOPHILIUM is an idea, a tale, a vision of the future seen through the lens of scientific research. BIOPHILIUM is the concept of an openair laboratory applied to a public park. Participation, everyday life and scientific research assume an urban scale, transforming what now is a confused patchwork of hermetic comrpatments into a catalyst for new practices. BIOPHILIUM is the synthesis of a vast number of consideration related to the urban environment, the ongoing trend of some scientific research and adaptation to problems and issues that affect the area of Grande Parco Forlanini. BIOPHILIUM enriches the concepts of park, of incubato, of research, of inclusion with a catalytic layer made of diffused and punctual intervention aimed to make the creation of unheard interaction between different worlds. BIOPHILIUM is not a project, nor a masterplan or a bunch of drawings: it’s a socially useful and inclusive scenario of something new that needs to adapt to the needs, trends and changes of a becoming world, riding the wave of technical and scientific evolution.

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SECTION1 THIS IS A PIECE OF CITY.

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A PARK: ITS SHAPES ITS ACTORS ITS WEAKNESS ITS STRENGHT

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A HETEROGENEOUS LIVING PIECE OF THE CITY. As an over-scaled mosaic, Grande Parco Forlanini currently works as a messy bunch of hermetically sealed activities. Spanning from commercial activities, exposition centres, sports facilities and even the second airport of the cityt of Milan, besides its issues Parco Forlanini already covers an important series of functions. Even the public park in the core of the area happens to be intensely animated during the whole week, as a confirmation of the positive perceptions of users that constanlty use it for their free time. Ongoing works for the construction of M4 underground are raising the awareness in citizens of the present and future role of the park and Idroscalo in the developement of the metropolitan area. What is lacking is a program, a vision of which objectives Grande Parco Forlanini can pursue to play a key role in a becoming and dynamic context like the one in Milan.

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TALE TITLE


Junior tennis

A PATCHWORK OF ACTORS The rich and variegated number of actors and related activities for sure represents a richness and a peculiar aspect of the area. Looking beyond how each of them set up their space and created boundaries that currently make the reconfiguration of the sapce uneasy, they have for sure been a strong attractor of investments in matter of infrastructure and maintenance. A mapping of current activities was useful in order to understand which one of the possible hypoteses was more suitable to involve the largest possible number of current actors.

Scarioni sports centre

Golf

Saini sports centre Minigolf

Novegro Expo Europark

Idroscalo

Sport facilities Jogging Entertainment

Forlanini Park

Expo Agricultural

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Public park

Agricultural

Public green space

Agricultural (abandoned)

Private green space

Sports

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A CHRISS-CROSS OF TRAFFIC ARTERIAS The hinge area between Milan and Segrate is hosts the most intensely used traffic nodes of the whole transportation infrastructure of the metropolitan area of Milan. Car, rail and even air traffic form a huge knot which cuts and delimitates the area of Grande Parco Forlanini. Among other issues, this overconcentration of accessibility devices contributed to create a chaotic hiearchy even in the local system of accessibility. A first analysis of the current set-up of paths and routes was necessary in order to understand which direction further actions had to have.

Railroad Highway Main road Secondary road Private road Pedestrian

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A COMPLEX OF BARRIERS. WALKABILITY WHERE PRESENT, PAVEMENTS AND BIKE LANES ARE NOT ALWAYS USABLE DUE TO THEIR STATUS OR TO THE TOTAL ABSENCE OF ADEQUATE ROAD SURFACE

INTERRUPTION/1 ROUTES AND PATHS, MAINLY PEDESTRIAN ONES, ARE OFTEN INTERRUPTED

IRRATIONALITY SOME PATHS THAT SHOULD DRIVE THE USER ARE ARE NOT INTELLIGIBLE

INTERRUPTION/2

DISCONTINUITY

ROUTES AND PATHS OFTEN END UP AGAINST BARRIERS

PEDESTRIAN PATHS ARE CUT BY BARRIERS OR NONWALKABLE ROADS IN MORE POINTS

CONTAMINATION PEDESTRIAN PAVEMENTS RUN NEXT TO HEAVY DUTY TRAFFIC LANES COMPLETELY UNPROTECTED

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NOISE AND TRAFFIC EMISSION AFFECTED AREAS

NOISE AND TRAFFIC EMISSION AFFECTED AREAS

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AN UNCOMFORTABLE HERITAGE A node of this magnitude generates pollution, which comes under different forms. The area is polluted bu sound, airborne pollutants coming from traffic and soil pollution coming from former activities. The agricultural vocation of the area is therefore compromised. Of course an almost heroic effort to preserve this vocation, like the one carried on by CasciNet for social purposes is absolutely positive, but it’s true also that to think about a productive foodstock agricultural future for such an area would be considered quite irresponsible and certainly not the best choice. But agriculture is a powerful instrument: it can be part of education, social help, mental healthcare and inclusion programs. The contact and the learning of natural cycles of the Earth have been demonstrated to be one of the best devices integrable in such programs. So why not to rethink agriculture? At the end of this first analysis, our project was yet to start.


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SECTION2 THIS IS A STRATEGY.

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RECOGNISE AND MAKE A GOOD USE OF RESOURCES.

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MUCH LAND THAT IS NOT SO MUCH. Agriculture was the way to go. But on how much land could we count on? In the end, not that much. An industrial production plan was therefore impossible to set up. Reconsidering the hypoteses made about education and social utility, the possibility of making a scientific park started to take shape. Conditions of existence of our project of developement were to preserve free land, re-using every single square meter of already-compromised land and abandoned buildings.

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DISCOVER THE POTENTIAL. In what can be defined a “census� of useful elements alreading standing in the area, buildings, free lands, former warehouses, office buildings and factories were identified. The resulting manmade built enviroment demonstrate to be incredibly heterogeneous and evenly distributed through the area. However, the main issue that played against a comprehensive vision of use of all of this heritage was the fact that barriers, lack of logical paths linking the possible districts and other sorts of physical obstacles would have made the cosnstitution of a real park impossible without a n accurate planning of a new layer of mobility and support. In this phase, the districts and combination of built environment and fields were defined, paving the way for a phase of hierarchic definition of a new sustem of accessibility.

ABANDON

UNDERUSE

ISOLATION

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COMBINE, EMPOWER, INTERACT. ADVANCED LABORATORIES AND OFFICES

Large companies active in the field of biopolymers (ENI, Novamont, API, Versalis...)

INCUBATORS

Startups and small companies

PUBLIC SPACES Showrooms, exhibitions, facilities

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Besides simpler complexes of abandoned cascinas, complex hybrid machines like the immigration centre and the former Ginori complex were taken in consideration. Mostly because if the intention was the one to make a project about a scientific park, a string support provided by well-equipped buildings was necessary. Even before defining which kind of scientific park we were going to design, an hypotesis of collocation of commonly found elements and functions was made. We came to the conclusion that the Grande Parco Forlanini already contains all this kind of spaces and the idea of the scientifica park was definitely put under developement.


WE MUST BECOME CIRCULAR. Parallely to the developement of the actual identity and purposes of the yet-to-be-defined scientific part, the attention was also focused about the aspect of sustainability. Dealing with a park which would have for sure conserved its agricultural vocation, the concept of circular life-cycle was taken as the leading principle that would have guided the whole design process. But something deeper happened: the question was, why not to use the park to make research about the closed cycle of cultivation processes? And what about the products: was there a way to produce a certain type of agriculture that, not being suitable for human nor animal consumption, could in some way be part of a vituous process of circular economical-industrial activity?

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MAKE LOCAL RESOURCES COUNT.

AGRICULTURAL MATRIX CASCINAS NEW PATHS

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Map resources was a natural step ahead towards the definition of the project. If the aim was to implement agricutlural activities, of course it could not have happened in absence of water. And Grande Parco Forlanini have plenty of it: its network of canals coming from the larger Villoresi Canal have ancient origins, the irrigation network sits there from centuries, distributing vital lymph to fields. Besides this spefically developed system, the Lambro river and Idroscalo constitute two elements of great relevance: if the first currently represents more a problem than a resource due its bad handling, mindless modifications of its banks and uncontrolled pollution which lasted for decades, the second has been subject to a good management fromthe point of view environmental preservation.


OBSERVE THE REAL WORLD

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MATCH TARGETS TO REAL-WORLD CASES OF STUDY. The research of the best balance between best practices and best use of the area drove us to find suggestions in case studies based on the same topics. Some of the keywords driving this investigation were research, education, ecology, reversibility, interaction, inclusion. This research drove us to select a heterogeneous

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#1 AGRO FOOD PARK (DK) Agro Food Park wants to become the leading innovation and growth center for food in Denmark – and to be among the world’s best. This is where the products of the future are created by interesting companies, research and educational institutions in a fruitful cooperation. Approximately 1,000 employees work in Agro Food Park today. In Agro Food Park you will become part of an open and trustful ecosystem: The will to “Open Innovation” creates new ways of thinking and growth for everyone involved and thereby turns Agro Food Park into a power center in the Danish food cluster. Agro Food Park is built on proud traditions for trustworthy cooperation between strong partners from the Danish food and agricultural industries. The focus is on developing food of a high quality, which will be in world-wide demand.

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AN OPEN AIR FARMING EXPERIMENT.

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#2 AGRONICA (NL) A project dating back to 1994, Agronica is a scenario for the developement of the Philips Innovation Hub in Eindhoven, NL. The group of architects developed a visionary project of weak urbanisation in which its districts coul be reconfigurable and adaptabe following the evolving needs of the Philips corporation. The integration between corporate spaces, technology and agriculture give life to a surrealistic scenarion in which everything seems possible to happen. The lightness and the reduced impact on the environment, along with the chameleontic spirit of the project strongly impacted our vision of our design process.

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A FLEXIBLE WEAK URBANISATION PROGRAM.

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#3 MUSEO DELLA SCIENZA (IT) In which extent is possible to divulgate complex scientific concepts to a wider audience? As some vituous examples of accessible scientific education teach, evrybody can be involved in every kind of scientific debate. It’s only a matter of how the information are vehiculate. The National Museum of Science and Technology of Milan has recently implemente a series of laboratories dedicated to the interaction between scientist, researchers and general public, through the mean of the direct experience. Experiment and experiences are carried on in a simplified form to explain even the most complex principles, in a successful operation of scientific divulgetion through direct experience.

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FILLING THE GAP BETWEEN PEOPLE AND SCIENCE.

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OK, THEN WHAT CAN WE GET OUT OF THIS PARK? How to make agriculture, science and research into something that can be as nearest as possible to everyday life without resulting discounted? Investigating about the topic, it came out that vegetables are an almighty source of by-products that we couldn’t even imagine. Bio-medicines, fuels and bioplastics can be the result of an efficient and sustainable use of cultivation products that come from the land and return to the land, being completely bio-degradable. We just found our leading idea.

RESEARCH

BIOPOLYMERS

FUELS

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THE CHOICE: RESEARCH, EXPERIMENTATION AND EDUCATION ON BIOPOLYMERS. A MONOMER is a small molecule, naturally present in vegetables.

A POLYMER

is a large molecule made up of a huge number of monomers organised in long chains.

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An open-air laboratory, incubator, divulgation machine and social assistence center. Where to experiment to make research, experiment to experience, divulgate and take actively part to the productive processs that, from vegetables, ends witht he production of biopolymers. We now had the vision of the supporting structure, the function, the interventions. And this thrilling idea to implement a huge research activity on one of the hottest topic in evironmental and scientific debate completely revolutionised the way we were thinking to the project. Plastics from land. Biopolymers from monomers, Monomers from vegetables.


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SECTION3 THIS IS A NEW TALE

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LINES, POLES, HOLES, PERIMETERS, ATTRACTORS.

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#1 A MESENCHYMAL TISSUE OF LINES AND PEERS. But let’s start from the right point. We said that we already located the structures that will host our new functions. The first step was to link them. Link them between them and link them to the external world.

EXISTING ACCESS POINTS NEW ACCESS POINTS NEW PATHS ROADS AND PATHS CASCINAS

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#2 THE MATRIX DRAWS THE LINKS. To define a new accessibility system, a clear vision of the productive matrix (that needs to stay intact) had to be made. A new leading corridor, working as a sort of decumanus that touches every functional district, was set up in the most local environment respectful way possible, although it answers perfectly to our needs to rationality and intelegibility of paths.

AGRICULTURAL MATRIX

CASCINAS

NEW PATHS

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#3 AN ACCESSIBLE NETWORK. Along with the definition of the leading pathway, a series of secondary aths needed to be defined. This lower-scale network has the exact same importance of the upper one, as our idea of a diffucsed research and education centre can exist only if the best accessibility device is provided in the project.

NEW MAIN PATHS ROADS NEW PEDESTRIAN PATHS EXISTING PATHS

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FAMILY PORTRAIT.

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I’M BIOPHILIUM.

CULTIVATED FIELD

PEDESTRIAN PATHS

PARK AREA

MAIN PATHS GREENERY

FUTURE DEVELOPEMENT (M4)

VERTICAL NEW CONNECTIONS GREENERY

WETLAND CULTIVATION (ALAGE, RICE) IMPERMEABLE LAND UNUSED FREEND LAND

200M

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A COMPLEX OF DIFFUSED AND PUNCTUAL ACTIONS

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#1 A TOOLBOX FOR RESHAPE. To each path its accessibility, A modular set of lanes was set up and different combinations were deployed through the park. The concept is to drive the visitors through pavement materials, colours and landscaping elements that have the duty to constantly orient their experience in the park.

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#4 BUILT-IN ENVIRONMENTAL SMARTNESS The reshape of paths is the reight occasion to implement some grid-scale characteristics and devices with the aim to improve the management of resources. Rainwater, kinetic energy, geothermal heat and solar radiaton are an unexhaustible source of energy that allows to reduce the demand of extra resources that come from the outside. The meaterialisation of the concept of “cycle” passes mandatorily through this kind of grid-setups.

WATER DRAINAGE+RAIN GARDEN SYSTEM

WHITE WATERS RECOVERY

PIEZO ELECTRIC TILES

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#5 MAKE IT SAFE AND USER-FRIENDLY. Landscaping and technical devices come together in these lamppost which want to be a solution to illumination, surveillance, ambient control and support to sensors and antennas and, at the same time, give an identity to the paths along which they are positioned. As a further implementation, smart totems can be also adopted, integrating features of infomration and support, let user to charge their mobile devices and even elecric vehicles.

ELECTRIC DISTRIBUTION

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DATA NETWORK


#2 POWER FROM EARTH. Following the concept of circular resource management, this work also takes in consideration the minimisation of the carbon footprint though the implementation of a smart grid for heating, conditioning, electricity an wastewater management. Devices like heatpumps, photovoltaic panels and more experimental devices like piezo-electric tiles that recover kinetic energy from vehicles and

WATERBODY HEAT EXCHANGE

PHOTOVOLTAIC

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LAMBRO RIVER

TERRACE 1 - ALGAE

TERRACE 2 - RICE

FLOOD INTENSITY

#3 LAMBRO: FROM PROBLEM TO RESOURCE.

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Along the river Lambro, an incredible number of wrong choices were made: its path was straichtened up, its bridges built too narrowly and poor depuration made it become the dead river that it is today. Although pollutant discharges seem to be over thanks to a virtuous politic of implementation of depuration systems in all its afferent area, the cementified and chocked river still struggles to develop life. Our proposal to mitigate the effects of this chocking tendence is to reshape its banks through a system of semi-permeable banks ad terraces. If the level of the water rises, floods can be avoided through a system of different-height expansion terraces in which, normally, rice cultivation is practiced. The double benefit of this solution is that the river is slowed down by the permeable bank, during floods and, in normal conditions, the cultivated terraces are naturally irrigated.


POWER CORES: ROCKET BOOSTERS OF TRANSFORMATION

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EDUCATE EXPERIMENT EXPERIENCE PRODUCE

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A DIFFUSED RESEARCH AND EDUCATION MACHINE. And now, the cascinas. The real hearts of the project. The defined targets of the park are represented by each unit, which is sub-divided in sections corresponding respectively to educative, experimental, experience and productive activities. Every cascina then becomes a peer for research and education, capable to adapt to the needs of eache user, poth public and private. This freedom of choice and flexibility turns cascinas into powerful devices that can empower the possibilities of researches and educators. Small and powerful, just like rockets!


J

GOOD THINGS FROM NATURE.

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F

D

N

M

N

A

O

S

M

O

M A

F

D

A

S

M

J A

J

J J

As mentioned before, the research that goes on in Biophilium is about bioplastics. From the field to the final product. Of course, such a small amount of land can’t sustain a massificated production, but it’s generous enough in space to guarantee the raw materials for experimentation. Can every vegetable be turn into plastics? Well, maybe. Honestly we don’t know. come on, we are architects! But we asked to very skilled people from the Chemistry faculty of the Parma University, who know loads of stuff about the topic. What we understood is basically that starch, sugars and natural oils are the perfect sources to make raw materials that can be turned in plastics. That’s the reason between the choice of only a bunch of vegetal species to support experiments.

Storage

Storage

Centrifugation

Centrifugation

Pressing

Pressing

Trituration

Trituration

Harvesting

Harvesting

J

J

F

D

F

D

N

N

M

M A

O

O

A M

S

S

M A

A

J

J J

J

Fermentation Centrifugation

Drying

Polymerisation

Polymerisation

Filtration Fermentation Harvesting

Pressing Cleanin

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SMALL EXPERIMENTS, GREAT FLEXIBILITY, HUGE KNOWLEDGE. Keyword: FLEXIBILITY! We are dealing with basicallY a huge experiment, where firms, universities and everyone interested in can ask to conduct experimentation about cultivation processes, transformation practices and other biotech stuff to be carried on the Biophilium fields. So why can’t we just let these ephemeral actors to configure their workspace by their own? Each cascina has a specific space in which these containers can be placed: just next to the fields and reached by power, heating, freswater and data connection. Is it weird to have entire laboratories inside freight containers? Of course it is. And that’s why you should like it! The cool part of having laboratories in containers is that they can be sent to firms, configured for specific experiments, carried on fields and removed when experiments are completed, ready to be reconfigured for the next experiments.

MODULAR CONTAINERED LABORATORY

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A COMPREHENSIVE TRANFORMATION NEEDS TIME

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3M

COMMUNICATION FIND INVESTORS&NEW ACTORS

6M

KEY-PLAN OF INTERVENTIONS Definition of new paths Trees plantation along paths Reshape agricultural fields implementation of new technology Cascinas makeover Geothermal grid system

1Y 3M 3M 9M 6M 1Y 3M

MAINTENANCE

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Integration of dismissed construction zones for M4


ROCKETS

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#1 CASCINA CAVRIANO

CHARACTERISTICS

LAND

BUILT ENVIRONMENT

CULTIVATION TYPE

PRODUCTS

BY-PRODUCT

POTATOES

SUGARS

CORN

STARCH

SUGARBEETS

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FREE SPACE


#2 CASCINA S. AMBROGIO

CHARACTERISTICS

LAND

BUILT ENVIRONMENT

CULTIVATION TYPE

PRODUCTS

PLANTS

POTATOES

TUBERS

CORN

FREE SPACE

BY-PRODUCT STARCH

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#3 CASCINA CASANOVA

CHARACTERISTICS

LAND

BUILT ENVIRONMENT

CULTIVATION TYPE

PRODUCTS

BY-PRODUCT

PLANTS

CORN

SUGARS

TUBERS

POTATOES

STARCH

AQUATIC

RICE

LIPIDS

ALGAE

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FREE SPACE


#4 CASCINA TAVERNA

CHARACTERISTICS

LAND

BUILT ENVIRONMENT

FREE SPACE

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#5 CASCINA SALESINA

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CHARACTERISTICS

LAND

BUILT ENVIRONMENT

CULTIVATION TYPE

PRODUCTS

FREE SPACE

BY-PRODUCT

SUGARBEETS

SUGARS

POTATOES

STARCH


#6 CASCINA PESSINA

CHARACTERISTICS

LAND

BUILT ENVIRONMENT

CULTIVATION TYPE

PRODUCTS

FREE SPACE

BY-PRODUCT

PLANTS

CORN

SUGARS

TUBERS

POTATOES

STARCH

SUGARBEETS

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#7 CASCINA BRUCIATA

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CHARACTERISTICS

LAND

BUILT ENVIRONMENT

CULTIVATION TYPE

PRODUCTS

FREE SPACE

BY-PRODUCT

PLANTS

POTATOES

SUGARS

TUBERS

SUGARBEETS

STARCH


#8 CASCINA VILLALANDA/ CASE NUOVE

CHARACTERISTICS

LAND

BUILT ENVIRONMENT

CULTIVATION TYPE

PRODUCTS

FREE SPACE

BY-PRODUCT

PLANTS

SUGARBEETS

SUGARS

TUBERS

POTATOES

STARCH

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#9 EX-GINORI

CHARACTERISTICS

LAND

BUILT ENVIRONMENT

CULTIVATION TYPE

PRODUCTS

BY-PRODUCT

POTATOES

SUGARS

CORN

STARCH

SUGARBEETS

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FREE SPACE


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SECTION4 THIS IS PLASTIC.

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FROM NATURE, TO NATURE. HARVESTING Bioplastics can hel to close the cycle. They come from natural and renewable products of the Earth, the monomers obtained avoit the needs of crude oil extraction and they can easily substitute a variety of traditional polymers. At the end of their life, they can be recycled or be trated as deperible waste. If accidentally dispersed into the environment, the vast majority of bioplastics is capable to rapidly breakdown through the action of sun and bacteria, reduscing the risk of harm against living creatures.

GRINDING

Corn is collected and grains are separated from the rest of the plant.

Then grains are ground into a fine powder to allow the separation of bran.

GLUTEN REMOVAL

Gluten is removed in order to isolate the starch.

ESSICCATION

Starch is essiccated and stored and it’s now ready to be processed.

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LIPIDS-BASED BIOPLASTICS

SOURCE ALGAE BIOPOLYMERS POLYETHYLENE POLYURETHANE EPOXIDIC RESINS

POLYETHYLENE

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POLYURETHANE

EPOXY


SUGAR-BASED BIOPLASTICS

SOURCE: BEETS BIOPOLYMERS POLYLACTIC ACID POLYETHYLENE POLYHYDROXYBUTYRATE

PLA

POLYETHYLENE

POLYHYDROXYBUTYRATE

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STARCH-BASED BIOPLASTICS

SOURCE POTATOES, CORN BIOPOLYMERS MATER-BI POLYETHYLENE POLYHYDROXYBUTYRATE

POLYETHYLENE

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POLYURETHANE

EPOXY


PLASTICS CHANGED THE WORLD

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IT’S TIME TO CHANGE PLASTICS.

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TPDW 2017-18 - 10 Biophilium  
TPDW 2017-18 - 10 Biophilium  
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