“The low-cost, low-impact dream home” describes in a nutshell the economic, environment and social prerequisites underpinning “The 100K € Home” (a home for 100.000 Euros) research project. As well as allowing homeowners to express their different identities and lifestyles, each apartment is a “bio-climatic” machine thanks to the passive and active strategies employed. “The only thing that’s preordained in the building is the outer frame”, explains Mario Cucinella. “All the interior spaces can be arranged as required. The exterior becomes a social space providing a series of communal facilities like bicycle-access ramps, laundries and urban furniture”.
The architectural and environment programme brings together form, optimal building orientation, alternating solids and voids, an outer envelope, cantilevers, communal terraces, and active and passive heating and cooling strategies, including photovoltaic cells that are part of the roof. The standard building isa a residential block whose 7.5x12 m grid contains 22 different-size apartments over 4 aboveground levels.
Dwelling units can be simplex or duplex with an external loggia or terrace, private access or an entrance from the communal terrace. A compact north façade contrasts with a variegated, open south-facing front. All apartments give onto two sides of the building thus ensuring cooling through-draughts. The larger expanses of glazing on the south façade let in more light during the winter while an operable sun-shading system and the jutting terraces afford protection from solar glare and heat in the summer. Planted terraces become roof gardens that create a microclimate contributing to passive cooling.
The interiors are a large open space partitioned to suit specific needs. Photovoltaic-generated electricity will be sufficient to cover all the building’s requirements and operate the heat pump linked to either a geothermal or underground water system, depending on the location. Any surplus electric energy can be released to the electricity grid and earn a little income. Water management is a particular concern. Rainwater is recovered and some buildings have a plant-filtered water purifying system. The low-cost requirement means that many construction elements will be pre-fabricated and dry assembled. These are currently under study together with the project’s technical partner Italcementi. Besides the cost reductions granted by this sort of rapid execution, large-scale construction, there is the added advantage of a lower-risk worksite.
The aim is to once again make construction part of a wider project towards new solutions for new social needs. Recent research entitled Housing Evolution by Makno & Consulting has shown that today the home is much more the centre of people’s interests, needs and future projects than it was in the past. The significance of the home varies. It can be an open place for socialisation, a friendly family retreat, a home that represents its inhabitant and lifestyle, or one that serves practical everyday needs. “The 100K € Home” project seeks to provide for these new lifestyles and make the home a renewed source of pleasure.