This project involved the replacement of an existing building in a densely built-up location. The form and volumes of the building reflect the limitations imposed by its setting, with only one street-facing side and the presence of higher adjacent buildings.
The aim of the project was to harness the greatest amount of natural light through the two courtyards located to the south, which the new residences were built around. The disposition of its volumes, with projections and recesses, likewise reflects the desire to maximize both natural light and vision. The design systematically incorporates transverse views and different lines of perspective. Large windows extend along the elevations facing the courtyards, insubstantiating the angles of the projecting volumes so as to avoid any sensation of being closed off or visual restrictions.
The new building borrows and reinterprets the shed roof of the pre-existing building. The elevation facing the street combines the volumetric presence of the new building with four retained arches, which are set into the perimeter wall and uniformly covered with the dark brown clinker bricks that were a defining feature of the pre-existing building. The elements of the façade overlap: the old and the new combine decisively, weaving together volumes with contrasting colours and materials.
The dwellings comprise small flats on the ground floor and duplex apartments on the upper levels with double-height ceilings and open stairways in the living areas. The bedroom volumes on the upper level are shaped by the combination of the floors of the pre-existing volume and the new partitions.
Energy saving and sustainability are key aspects of this project: construction of walls and ceilings with extremely low rates of heat transmission, solar panels providing hot water needs, and geothermal probes beneath the foundation layer for heating, hot water, and summer cooling. The dwellings have radiant panel heating in the floors and ceilings, with a home automation system controlling heating, cooling and air exchange based on temperature, humidity and CO2 data. Controlled ventilation allows for heat recovery of up to 70 per cent. The system as a whole produces a considerable reduction in energy consumption, with the building classified as Class A under ClimateHouse criteria.
Client: Palatesta, Alberto Barberini
Gross Floor Area: 2300 m2
Architects: Architetto Giorgio Volpe
Working Drawings: Giorgio Volpe, Mauro Rossaro, Massimiliano Vanella, Ufficio tecnico Holz & Ko
Structure: Mauro Croce, Massimo Talloni
Plant: Andreas Fischer, Norbert Klammsteiner
Timber Structures: Damiani-Holz & Ko
Geothermal Probes: Geotermia
Photo by Luca Cioci
Giorgio Volpe, architect, is primarily involved in residential housing and designs for the conversion of existing buildings. His main focus is examining the relationship between public and private spaces, in particular in terms of the function of shared spaces, and developing reproducible solutions for achieving high degrees of architectural and spatial quality within different environments.
Since 2005, he has been explored various aspects of the design and construction of low energy consumption/low environmental impact buildings, his work in particular involving prefabricated timber-framed buildings, with a number of examples constructed in Bologna.