!melk, a brand new landscape architecture and urban design firm, is set to join Arata Isozaki, Daniel Libeskind, and Zaha Hadid, among others, for CityLife, an enormous development planned for the historic Fiera di Milano neighborhood in Milan. The New York-based !melk, which was founded less than a year ago when Jerry van Eyck left West 8 and teamed up with Evan Rose, won an international competition to design a multi-level piazza, sculpture park, and butterfly garden/pavilion situated within Libeskind’s master plan. CityLife will include skyscrapers by Isozaki, Libeskind and Hadid, as well as a museum of modern art, commercial center, housing complexes, and a new subway station. !melk collaborated on its submission with the London-based landscape architect Gustafson Porter as well as One Works and Arup in Milan.
Though !melk is a new venture, its principals have plenty of experience. Jerry van Eyck was a partner at the award-winning Dutch firm West 8 for 17 years. Most recently he was the project manager for development on Governor’s Island, but left the firm, in part, to pursue more US-based projects. Ironically, !melk’s first big endeavor puts him back across the pond. Urban designer Evan Rose is a former partner of San Francisco-based SMWM (recently merged with Perkins + Will) who built up their New York office.
The CityLife project, under development by a handful of companies, is one of the largest urban interventions underway in Europe, of which more than 50% will be park space. Isozaki’s skyscraper, Il Dritto (the Straight One), will be the tallest structure in Italy. The project will also include waterways that suggest the canals of Lombardy. Milan Mayor Letizia Moratti, announced !melk’s victory on October 27. The other finalists were Agence Ter (France), Latitude Nord (France), Proap (Portugal), Latz + Partner (Germany), Rainer Schmidt (Germany), Atelier Girot (Switzerland) and Erika Skabar (Italy).