The design of the residential complex “Il Parco dei Gelsi” focuses on environmental and relational sustainability through a different ecological approach that allows a design to be developed in a complex relationship with the environment where social relations directly impact the quality of living. The project is implemented in an area connecting urban areas with nature, at the centre of an environmentally protected area, set in the natural folds of the land. It is organized in solutions that vary in terms of size and characteristics, where large, bright flats alternate with more cosy, intimate ones. The orientation of the flats has been skilfully determined according to the principles of environmental sustainability that regulate indoor environmental comfort and at the same time provide a vast range of different types of flats where dwellings suitable for the elderly, young couples and families are mixed together. The nine housing units, which are grouped together in a single compact building characterized by different, morphologically recognisable sections, are energy self-sufficient thanks to adequate sunlight and natural thermal conditioning. Each unit has its own garden: the deciduous trees provide privacy as well as shade and natural cooling during the warmer months. The construction techniques used, the materials and their shapes relate to the surrounding environment.
The load-bearing wooden structures, insulated with natural wood fibre insulation, are built with a frame system and sized so as to ensure good thermal inertia and compliance with structural specifications. The windows and doors are made of glued laminated larch timber with low-emission double-glazing and are located on opposite sides, so as to guarantee natural ventilation and moisture exchange together with the ventilated walls and roofs. On the outside, the structures are partly covered with ventilated walls made of natural larch staves or zinc-titanium sheet metal, and partly with a plastered insulation layer; on the inside, they are provided with an insulated plasterboard wall that hides the electrical wiring and the plumbing.
Bearing in mind that a project is not sustainable if it involves the use of more resources and more energy than it can produce, the technological systems have been designed with high quality standards, so as to offer thermo-hygrometric comfort and save energy. The use of renewable energy sources guarantees that the thermal and electric power demand is satisfied. As regards room and domestic water heating, separate air source heat pump systems have been installed, which are powered by electricity produced on the roof, as well as probes for automatic room temperature control and low-thickness radiant floor panels. The project does not include the use of methane gas or any other fossil fuel source.
The combination of these building envelopes and systems guarantees an energy efficiency class of A4
In 1979, Edoardo Milesi – graduated with Franca Helg at the Polytechnic University of Milan – founded the studio Archos, which immediately turned its attention to ecological building with a “strong” interpretation of reality, combining attention to environmental issues with attention to social issues. Archos studio operates in varied fields: from the preservation and restoration of national monuments to renewal and transformation plans on an urban scale; from manufacturing sites to private residences, tourist accommodation and cultural buildings. The activities of the studio have always been characterized by research and constant participation in cultural debate about architecture, so much so that over the years the studio has gone hand in hand with a publishing house which publishes, among other things the magazine ArtApp since 2009. In 2014, Milesi founded the non-profit association Scuola Permanente dell’Abitare.
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