Children on Site

This scheme, organised by the Riccardo Catella Foundation with the sponsorship of Milan City Council and Milano Expo 2015, involved the large construction sites now in operation in Milan, destined to change the face of the city during the next few years: CityLife,  Porta Nuova, the Beni Stabili site in the Galleria del Corso, and the Milan Underground Railway project which is to extend the M3 line towards the Comasina district.

For the two days of Saturday 29 and Sunday 30 May 2010 the four construction sites were open from 09:30 to 18.30 hrs for guided tours by groups of children from 5 to 11 years of age accompanied by their parents. The children, who also included the offspring of construction site workers, thus gained an insight into the building of their city of the future, with students from the Milan Polytechnic acting as their guides to the mechanisms which govern a construction site and ensure that it functions safely and efficiently.

The tours taken by the children and their parents comprised a number of stages, and at some sites even the youngest visitors were able to engage in typical building “works” in the form of play:

  • On the crane: the children were allowed to climb into the control cab of a small crane, where a staff member explained to them how the machinery works and how sites are prepared for excavation activities
  • Brick by brick: the children were given the tools and materials to build a wall, under the guidance of a skilled bricklayer, who had already explained the procedure to them
  • Hidden pipes: the children were able to paint and install pipes on a long wall on the site, simulating the tasks involved in installing the building’s systems.

The event was preceded by a communications campaign on the fencing boards around the sites, which portrayed the builders at work together with some children, in order to raise the city’s awareness of construction site safety in the broader sense and illustrate the life and work going on behind the fences every day.

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