The Shell Passivhaus in Cesena: humans and sun alliance
Piraccini + Potente Architettura
This is a home designed following Passivhaus standards (international protocol for scientific research in sustainable buildings design).
Among different strategies the building exploits different inclination of the sun during seasons to use the heat made by solar radiation.
During cooler months sun light, which are lower during winter, comes trough windows, warming up the house, while during summer the solar radiation is rejected by the sunscreen which wraps the building avoiding indoor overheating.
The building envelope has been designed usig a lot of insulating materials to ensure air tightness and protect thermal bridges.
Location of the windows has been designed to allow the maximum brightness and maximize the gain of free solar radiation when needed.
The system is so efficient that the building heats up using passive energy source, not only solar radiation but also human warmth and home appliances. The only active system provided is the controlled mechanical ventilation with heat recovery unit (VMC). Through a heat exchanger the heat of the exhaust air trasmigrates in the new air introduced, avoiding energy losses. The energy requirement is so low in terms of air conditioning that the building produces more energy than is required, using only a 3kw system.
In addition, because of the system does not use fuels energy sources there are no emissions into the atmosphere; the comfort indoor is very high due to an air control system that heads off indoor and outdoor polluting, minimizes phenomena of dry and wet air and reduces CO2.
In terms of design the sunscreen wrapping the building has been conceived as an emotional element: it casts shadows which dematerialize the inner building, due to the dark color, and it creates spaces decipherable only by the imagination of the viewer. During night hours the principle is reversed because the light is spread from the house to the outside, turning the building into a big lantern.
Interiors and furnitures have been designed by the architects themselves. Environmental sustainability goals, which characterized the building design as a whole, are manteined in interiors through the selection of materials.
Fornitures were made by natural oak wood, Carrara marble and adhesives without formaldehyde, they are designed in simple shapes, almost stereometric, with a few exceptions of organic elements, like the brach-shaped foot that supports the wardrobe.
Interior floors was made by solid concrete quartz and its high thickness promotes the capacity to soak up sunheat during the day in order to release it during night hours. The floor is also provided with a barrier capable to avoid the upwelling of radon gas emission from the ground. Floor surface is continuous, without joints, in order to expand the perception of indoor spaces, mainly characterized by grey color typical of local Arenaria’s sands. The sand color is recalled also by the pieces of stone wich highlight thresholds.
Indoor doors were kept at the same height as the windows doors, and they have been designed to be installed without frames to semplify shapes. The hallway of the sleeping area is characterized by a wooden boiserie, which leads to the perfect integration of the doors merging inside this system.
The kitchen island is a Carrara marble monolith which has the same size of the marble hollow in the wooden closet set behind it, according to the principle of the subtraction of volumes.
Bathrooms are the exception in terms of rigour of colors and shapes which characterize the main rooms. The blank wall leaves space to bright and colorful wallpaper, which recalls natural environment like woods and oceans, becoming strongly decorative. Furnitures here, on the other hand, are still in wood and marble, keeping the simplicity and rationality of the whole project.
Stefano Piraccini e Margherita Potente
Gianluca Bertoli, Marco Marchetti, Beatrice Enti, Teresa Cancellari, Emanuele Loroni, Linda Gabrielli, Vincenzo Vodola
Formula Servizi s.r.l
ing. Andrea Fagioli (structure)
Mitsubishi Electric, Finstral (tramite Edilpiù s.r.l.), Ideal Standard, Zhender
Piraccini+Potente Architectural Studio has been active since 2001 and is made up of the architects Stefano Piraccini and Margherita Potente.
Stefano Piraccini is an Architect, PhD in Architectural Technology. From 2001 he carries out the professional activity of architect in residential, tertiary and public sectors. His design activity is reflected by design contests, exhibitions, architecture awards and publications.
He is a scientific and technical consultant for both private and public institutions. He is an adjunct professor at Bologna University, Architecture department of Cesena.
Margherita Potente is an Architect and designer/Thermo technician/ Passivhaus adviser (Passivhaus institut Darmstadt). In 2015 she certifies as a passivehouse the first wooden multiple residence in Italy, that is a reference for passive buildings in the Mediterranean area.
Over the years Piraccini+Potente Studio has published numerous articles and book. It has also won numerous awards.