Contemporary architectural design increasingly has to deal with the question of sustainability, although the array of possible solutions remains broad. Architects, contractors, engineers and others involved in the construction process are starting to create something of a shared culture, in which designs are used to substantiate ideas within a paradigm of living quality and, as such, to start to provide a basis for essential standards. However, this is no straight-line process, but one that is both fed and affirmed by the creation of common ground. In many ways, this family home in Verona embodies this shared journey. Here, given a relatively large house with a reasonably sized garden, the design sets goals for how architecture and sustainability, in the broad sense, intersect. The architectural expressivity of the building and the living comfort its offers come together in order to achieve major energy savings and thus key energy certification.
It requires both rational and inventive elements to make a building comfortable, taking into consideration the wide array of needs that make wellbeing a constant element in this design, such as, indoor environmental quality, modulating lighting to ensure it corresponds to the actual use of rooms, and the levels of heat and sound insulation. By contrast, the building seeks a degree of uniqueness through its shape and structure, which are built around the concepts of linearity and simplicity. The basic outline is a parallelepiped, with the architectural details added around this. The longitudinal axis of the building runs south-west to north-east, with the main facades facing north-west and south-east. The relatively large glazed area on the south-east face is protected by automated blinds. In contrast to this, the opposite side is fairly closed, with tall, narrow windows. The more open, sunny side is where the living areas and bedrooms are located (the main bedroom is on the eastern corner and the guest room is in the centre of that facade), with the bathrooms, laundry and kitchen on the other side. The living room has a large glazed wall facing south-east, on the shorter side of the building.
Glass is also a major element for the main bedroom and bathroom, giving the building a certain visual dynamism. On the long south-eastern side, four travertine steps lead up to a small platform and then another three steps to a covered veranda. This is both the entrance and a possible extension, when the doors are open, to the living area. Inside, the rooms are placed along a longitudinal axis.
The building's structure also provides one of its most characteristic elements as it is raised above the ground, seemingly almost not touching the earth. The eight H beam steel pillars are connected to the framework beams that are then connected to the reinforced-concrete floor. Natural ventilation is provided by vertical grills in the flat roof, which also provides thermal insulation. The pillars, concrete floor - clad on the sides with white steel - and the roof are also visible structural elements, making the building's framework one of its defining visual features. As one looks at the edifice, one sees uprights, frames and the full and empty planes along the facade, forcing one to rethink the historical side of modern.