Low Energy Experimental House, sustainability and biocompatibility
angus fiori architects
The experimental project, built in a flat area halfway between Milan and Como, was designed to meet the highest standards of sustainability and biocompatibility, with considerable attention to the study of bio-climatic aspects, plant-engineering, and the reduction of energy losses of the building envelope.
The volume of the building has a larger extension on the east-west axis to favour the southern exposure. The south façade is composed of predominantly transparent parts in order to use the solar gain inside the building. The other parts of the façade are cladded with back-painted panels in recycled fiberglass.
The north façade, cladded with a botticino marble layer on a steel-wood structure, is mainly opaque and strongly insulated in order to limit energy losses.
The other three façades are covered with glass panels and are interspersed by cantilever slabs made by a wood structure and clad with zinc titanium panels. This system allows the solar refraction on the vertical walls in the summer, reducing the heat load, and a higher permeability to sun when solar radiation is more horizontal in the winter. Serve also to the same features, the cantilever's volume and buffer space (openable during summer) at the first floor.
The shape of the building, the shading systems and lighting systems of living areas, maximise resources in different seasons and permit access of the sun during the winter season. Shadow-range simulations are verified for each month of the year through Ecotect software. The building is complemented by a landscape design that allows, with its planting, an acoustic insulation from outside.
The internal spaces are extremely bright and visually permeable between them.
A single oak staircase cantilevers out from a vertical wall to connect all levels, fixed with seamless vertical glass panels that give the illusion of a floating staircase.
The suspended ceilings are made with wooden panels with integrated lead strips. The central volume of the building, crossed vertically by a double-height space and a floating corridor that connects the different rooms at first level, provide natural ventilation thanks to the stack-effect created by the electrical opening system of the roof windows. Passive ventilation of the building is also guaranteed by micro-ventilation systems of the external shell.
The solutions aimed at improving the thermal comfort and energy conservation do not concern only the shape of the building and passive systems, but are integrated with active systems such a solar thermal and photovoltaic systems, supplemented by a system of pumps and heat exchangers, a controlled mechanical ventilation system, an accumulation system DHW in turn integrated with a pellet-wood stove, in order to achieve the goal of having a strong reduction of energy requirements and to classify the building energy rating A+. The distribution of the heating occurs by means of a prefabricated system instead of traditional methods. The construction system of the building involved the construction of a reinforced concrete basement and two more levels above ground, made by a prefabricated dry-system of mixed wood-steel structures and wooden floor with a coffered ceiling type.
Even the external shell is completely composed of drywall systems made by sustainable materials like recycled fibreglass panels and wood wool insulation. With the same philosophy were thought internal cladding where floors were laid in oak staves brushed and bleached, mineral and vegetal paints and putties, stoneware tiles with components from recycled material.
Angus Fiori architects is a studio of highly innovative architects based in Milan. During the past ten years, our office has been involved in many areas of architectural design. We have designed residential and commercial buildings, hotels, wellness centers and shopping malls. We have renovated historical buildings, villas and private houses in Italy, the United Kingdom, Japan, China, Turkey and Russia. During the last ten years we have become highly specialized in sustainable architectural design, studying all topics in this field such as the focus of contextualization in the design approach, the use of local resources, the design of an acoustic and energy efficient building envelope, the use of technologies that defer to bioclimatic architecture and renewable energy and the use of dry construction systems and prefabrication. We normally perform an ecological analysis of environmental sustainability and biocompatibility of the materials used in the construction process.