The multi-family building Aurum is located in Ora, a small village of South Tirol region. The project’s area is characterized, from an urbanistic point of view, by the presence of single-family houses that influences the social dimension of the neighborhood. This area lacks completely public spaces for the community, typical of the ancient rural village of Ora. Therefore, recreating a quartier identity is a priority for the project. Aurum is part of a common development plan that wants to create a quartier with a social dimension and aggregation spaces.
The building is located on the North-West side of the area and it defines the border between the quartier and the external space. 14 residential units are arranged into four different levels above the ground, while an underground level hosts garages and cellars. All the flats are different because the design phase was a fruitful collaboration between clients and designers, that customize each space according to the needs and the desires of the clients. This planning phase, where needs and solutions of everybody were shared, created a strong group identity that established a neighborhood community, increasing the life quality of the building's inhabitants. The internal walls are realized as drywall for guaranteeing flexibility of the indoor spaces, so that the apartments' spaces can be easily changed in the future, according to changed needs. Generally, all the kitchens and dining rooms overlook the internal courtyard of the residential area and they are exposed on South- East side of the building. In this way, the solar radiation can be exploit to reduce the energy needs.
Externally the building has a compact shape defined by simple volumes, with irregular but harmonious opening. Despite the simplicity of the building shapes, the facades do not appear flat and they are characterized by dynamism and movement. In fact, the building has four different heights, which creates a system of open terraces set up as green garden. The roof of the lowest volumes becomes the garden of the attic above. A characteristic element of the building is this system of covered balconies, that hanging out the building facades, designing a dynamic front on the south-east side. These balconies create a constant relationship between the inside and the outside of the building, allowing the users to exploit the space in all the season of the years. The external finish of the building highlights the different volumes by means of the color and the particle size of the plaster. The lower volumes and the hanging balconies are emphasized by a darkest plaster with biggest grains. All the ground floor has been also finished in the same way to remind the theme of the wall, typical element of the rural village of Aurum. The building is harmoniously related to the others buildings of the quartier for its colors and materials, however it keeps its originality thanks to this dynamism of the volumes.
The materials have been carefully chosen: ecologic materials, such as hemp, wooden fiber and cellulose, have been preferred to the standard ones. In particular, the building façades have been externally insulated by means of 20 cm of hemp fiber, a natural product completely biodegradable at the end of its lifecycle. It has been the first time in Italy in which the hemps panels have been extensively used in such a large surface. The hemp fiber is not only a good thermal insulation material, it has a really low environmental footprint, it guarantees excellent acoustic performance and it is able to naturally regulate the moisture into the building components.
Sustainability of construction materials is not the only aim of the project: the designers wanted to reach an overall energy balance equal to zero. Since the building energy needs for heating are really small (about to 14 kWh/m2), the energy demand is completely covered by renewable sources. During the winter season, a heat pump coupled with geothermal probes allows to exploit the heat stored into the ground. Moreover, the geothermal probes cool down the air of the soft cooling system, guaranteeing an extraordinary thermal comfort even during the summer. The PV panels placed on the roof cover up not only the energy consumption of the heat pump, but also all the building shared utilities and part of the utilities of each residential unit. A mechanical ventilation system guarantees a high indoor environmental quality of the air by means of anti-pollen filters and correct ventilation of the indoor spaces.
Another important focus for Solarraum is the indoor comfort, achieved by means of an appropriate choice of the building materials, the development of specific design solution for the project and an accurate controlling on the building site.
The quality of the result is guaranteed by the label “Casaclima A Nature”. Furthermore, the project obtained the international Environmental Euregio award 2016, because it promotes environmental protection, sustainability and innovation in the building sector.
Founded in 2004, Solarraum engages in providing solutions to sustainable architecture and energy efficiency. The research-based design method of the studio allows to define buildings for living, working, for tourism and building renovation where architecture and technology creates a synergy between innovative design and energy efficiency solutions. Solarraum’s architecture can be seen as a result of an integrated, multidisciplinary view, where clients’ wishes, wide-ranging sustainability, energy efficiency and high indoor environmental quality are central in the planning process. Another key point of Solarraum’s view is to increase the focus not only on the design phase but also during the detailed design and on the building site, to guarantee the high standard of the execution. Several outstanding awards recognize the innovative approach and the high architecture quality of Solarraum projects: Solarraum is the only studio who won the national Award “Casaclima” four times.