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Redevelopment and Reuse in Circular Housing

Barreca & La Varra

By Editorial Staff -
Colombini Group has participated in the project

The desire to integrate private spaces, services, luxurious greenery and pedestrian areas with the values of sustainability and reuse was the idea behind the creation of 5Square, a social housing complex commissioned by Redo Sgr and designed by Barreca & La Varra in the Vigentino district south of Milan. As the name suggests, the development has five buildings around a central courtyard, although these structures are actually the result of finding a new purpose for existing buildings from the 1990s that were meant for the manufacturing and service industries, but fell into abandon and decay. The green transformation has allowed a new model of living to emerge, based on the basic principles of sharing, protecting the environment and avoiding unnecessary resource use.

5Square © Carola Merello, courtesy Barreca & La Varra

The complex has about 500 apartments, in a range of configurations and sizes, that are available for both rent and purchase at subsidized rates. It also has an abundance of communal spaces, including for neighborhood shops and services, a gym, a clinic and green areas. The focus on the environment and sustainability is evident in the heat and sound insulation adopted between the interior walls, sunscreens for the sections that receive the most sunlight, radiant panels inside the houses, and systems to monitor and analyze consumption. Perhaps 5Square’s most innovative addition to reuse and reducing environmental impact is the Circular Housing® furniture and appliance rental system, a service run by Redo Sgr that truly embraces a circular economy philosophy right from the furniture in the kitchens, living rooms, bedrooms and bathrooms. This service sets out an eight-year contract that includes maintenance and insurance.

One of the suppliers for this service is Colombini Group. The formula adopted has multiple advantages, such as 5Square residents not having to manage the installation, maintenance and final disposal of the products as such operations – including their potential restoration and reuse – will be the responsibility of the manufacturers.

5Square © Carola Merello, courtesy Barreca & La Varra

Using this model, data from Politecnico di Milano suggest a reduction of about 370 kg CO2e each year per apartment, which is equivalent to the CO2 absorbed by a forest of about 2,000 sq. m.

The service is possible thanks to partnerships with Compass Rent (as the rental service provider), FHS (social technical advisor), Erion (circular economy expert) and several suppliers, and it gives residents a chance to save money while still enjoying quality furnishings. And this is also done with a view to reducing waste, a key element in safeguarding the planet and, as such, future real estate projects.

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