The project has like object the construction of a housing unit on a mid-mountain slope near Aosta. The project has taken the first steps placing two basic questions: the first typological question is what means to approach the issue of residence today in terms of organization of space. The second architectural question is what means to approach the issue of construction of a building at a time like the present, which raises the question of energy savings as an absolute necessity.
The typological question From the mid-70s the theme of residence has lost the centrality that took in the architectural debate for all the modernity and we can safely say that from the point of view of typological research we basically stopped then. In the meantime, however, something has changed in the social dynamics and ways of living. One of the most important factors is definitely the long time of the stay of children in the family and the increasingly widespread practice to accommodate guest. The coexistence of adults is totally inadequate to the type of housing that is handed down modernity based on strict division between the day and night areas; the relationship of coexistence between adults make us rather think of a spatial pattern similar to that of a village made of core self that relate to common areas. This is basically a program that has been proposed to develop our project looking for a strong relationship between interior spaces, features and architectural form. The building is the product of a mounting operation of volumes each of which corresponds to a functional environment. Each function corresponds to a different architectural character. The building is organized through a vertical sequence of environments. On the first floor there is a volume base, which slips into the steep slopes, covered with local stone, in which are located the living spaces. This is the space of joint reports the public part of the house. Above this base the private spaces are born made to the first level of a cubic volume covered with cedar wood in which are located the rooms topped by another light glass volume shielded by a brise soleil adjustable wooden slats which are placed in the small private living spaces. At the intermediate level the private units are connected by another common space, a conservatory made of steel and glass. The private units also have access directly to the outside without having to interfere with the common space of the living area. Almost entirely buried under the base are common areas for wellness and relaxation functions (swimming pool, jacuzzi, gym).
The bioclimatic architectural question Everybody talk about , but in practice up to now they are used especially by two seemingly opposite worlds. The world of media and communication that tends to spread it in a superficial and generic way and the world of technology (which, while providing an important contribution) tends to pose the question in terms of performance system. Between these two worlds there is a gap and it is exactly the space that must occupy the architectural culture. Our project took as a basis the question bioclimatic and energy saving. The building has the most sophisticated technology systems (geothermal, heat pumps, insulation cladding, glazed low emissivity) but what interested us to investigate through the project were not so much the technological aspects of the issue but the role of architectural forms . It 's the so-called field of passive systems for energy savings. Comes into play the capacity of the building to adapt to the specific context and to optimize its energy needs by virtue of its architectural features. Inspired by models of alpine architecture we used the terrain in a steep slope to get to the lower level of the environment with the North face against the ground. The ground as we all know guarantees a constant temperature and is less susceptible to rapid excursions than air; thus provides a natural insulation from the rigid winter temperatures and from the hot summer temperatures. In summer we also obtain a further benefit; between the underground part and that one is exposed is created a temperature differential that creates a natural movement internal air by convection. The vertical part of the building uses the staircase as ventilation stack that we appropriately located on the north side. The hot air present inside the building finding air at a lower temperature on the north side rises up for natural convective motion to escape by a special opening located at the top. In this way it is possible to lower the temperature in the south side without energy consumption. To avoid that the large windows of the building can be sources of summer warming is realized a continuous shield as second facade separated by about 60 cm from the glass surface consisted of brise soleil flake cedar slats. But by the geographical location of the building even more important are the passive devices in winter conditions. First, the solar greenhouse, an environment totally made of steel and glass, that has an important role in spatial connection between the architectural volumes at the first level and propos itself as an important passive device for capturing solar energy in the intermediate seasons and in those winter. The contribution in terms of reducing energy consumption of this technological and architectural device is essentially of two types. In the first instance is a space buffer which reduces the thermal exchanges between the building and the outside decreasing losses in winter and heat gains in summer.
Secondly, thanks to glass surfaces, during the winter, inside, the greenhouse develop temperatures much higher than those outside that can be exploited to heat or preheat the environments of the building. To optimize the greenhouse effect we put it in contact with the volumes walls of the rooms. The presence of masses of accumulation ensures a damping and a phase shift of peaks of heat external. To prevent that this space, during the summer, becoming an heat storage we have been provided for coverage external motorized roller blinds. The vertical windows are opened in the summer so the solar greenhouse is transformed into a cool indoor space completely open and ventilated. All these passive architectural devices together with sophisticated technology systems has allowed us to create a building with a very low energy requirements. Fifty square meters of photovoltaic panels integrated into a steel shelter located in front of the living space has allowed us to obtain a building completely independent from the energy point of view.