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Casa Futuro in Amatrice ‒ an eco-friendly perspective for architecture

Receiving the After the Damages International Award, the design is an example of low environmental impact building that can drive local social and cultural regeneration

Stefano Boeri Architetti

Casa Futuro Amatrice Stefano Boeri Architetti
By Editorial Staff -

The reconstruction project for the Don Minozzi complex in Amatrice, which was badly hit by the 2016 earthquake, is far more than a strategic and urban planning project in response to an emergency. The design, by Stefano Boeri Architetti, centers not only on practicality and making the new edifices aseismic, but also on the social and community regeneration of the entire local area.

These reasons, plus its ability to provide a synergic interpretation of issues connected with emergencies, prevention, and risk mitigation and management, have taken Casa Futuro ‒ 'house of the future' ‒ to win the After the Damages International Award ‒ the prize to spotlight exemplary designs, strategies and buildings in this challenging field of application.

What makes Casa Futuro stand out is its eco-friendly approach to construction, which in this case artfully manages to interact with a weighty past in the form of the complex commissioned by Father Giovanni Minozzi from the architect Arnaldo Foschini in the 1920s. The idea was in fact to create community spaces and places of worship, but also those for study and socialization: multi-purpose spaces for user groups varying in size, for civil functions through to hospitality, also providing refuge to war orphans.

Casa Futuro is fully in line with these aims, bringing Amatrice a unique space for the town: it is now exemplary as a technological research incubator and permanent workshop for new environmental awareness, able to guide the rebirth ‒ in a green key ‒ of many other related contexts in Italy and further afield.

 

Casa Futuro ‒ four courtyard-based macro areas embracing nature

Casa Futuro Courtesy of Stefano Boeri Architetti

The Casa Futuro project is inspired by the core concept of 'integral ecology' as expressed in Pope Francis' Encyclical. The Stefano Boeri Architetti studio has not restricted its intervention to giving the site new urban definition, but has strengthened the strategic purpose of the site, with a variety of uses and multiple services, including reception and accommodation spaces, a library and an auditorium. In addition, the studio has focused careful attention on the building's presence within its landscape, considering its proximity to the Gran Sasso and Monti della Laga National Park. Environmental impact has been kept to a minimum, while also ensuring that green areas make up at least 40% of the total surface.

 

"Casa Futuro aims to make the Don Minozzi complex an engine driving local social and cultural regeneration, as occurred in the period following WWI. The Casa Futuro courtyards will in fact be community places for training, meetings and reception activities open to youngsters, town residents and visitors to the new Amatrice." Stefano Boeri.


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The project design has reworked the open spaces by preserving a connection with the previous elements, focusing on the ground-floor colonnades, the elevations and alignment with the Santa Maria Assunta church, the Fontana delle Pecore fountain and the Torre Civica tower in Amatrice, to underline the bond between the urban fabric and its surrounding area.
 

Casa Futuro Courtesy of Stefano Boeri Architetti

The layout features four macro areas shaped around courtyards: the Corte Civica is the northern-most one and develops on two storeys above ground, which house administration spaces, including the town hall offices, a multipurpose hall and a public library; the Corte del Silenzio, positioned centrally to the site, shows two storeys above ground and houses Casa Madre dell’Opera Nazionale and religious residences as well as spaces for a nursing home and several halls for museum and liturgical purposes; the Corte dell’Accoglienza, in the western part of the site, focuses on youngsters, with recreation halls, a cafeteria and training rooms; instead the Corte delle Arti e dei Mestieri, pivoting on arts and professions, has just a single level above ground and offers educational workshops for producing zero-km goods.
 

>>> Polcevera Park: regeneration and the creation of memory. Discover the project that took the Boeri studio to explore pedestrian and bicycle infrastructure 

 

Recycled and low impact materials

Casa Futuro has literally been created from the rubble and debris of the previous Don Minozzi complex: these in fact account for about 60% of the total volume of material used in the road base and the façade panel composite.

Casa Futuro Courtesy of Stefano Boeri Architetti

The project's eco-sustainability is evident in its earthquake-resistant solutions reusing excavated earth, its rainwater management and the presence of 930 voltaic panels installed on the roof. Also the reintroduction and conservation of the original functions of the former farm and its adjacent silo have helped cut the environmental impact of the design, as has adapting the windows to the new purposes of the various spaces.

The elevations indeed demanded careful working from the design team: it set out from the original architecture, with large regular geometric openings, and enhanced the unusual alternation between solids and voids, emphasizing the constant connection between indoors and out ‒ a direct reference to the contact between humans and nature.

This is how Casa Futuro, the house of the future, will be able to adapt to change over time, while staying faithful to its historical memory that is so important for the town of Amatrice and the surrounding area.

Credits

Location: Amatrice, Rieti, Italy

Promoters of the complex's reconstruction plan
Opera Nazionale per il Mezzogiorno d'Italia
Diocese of Rieti
Lazio Region
City of Amatrice
Special Commissioner for the 2016 earthquake reconstruction process
Ministry of Culture
Ministry of Education, University and Research

Architect: Stefano Boeri Architetti with Laudato Si’, Slow Food
Partner in charge: Marco Giorgio
Project Director: Corrado Longa
Design Team: Corrado Longa, Marco Giorgio, Francesca Motta, Marco Neri, Daniele Barillari, Francesca Capicchioni, Francesca Da Pozzo, Sara Gangemi, Elena Gianelloni Mariachiara Mondini, Dragana Mikavica

Consultants
Plant Equipment: ESA engineering

Rendering courtesy of Stefano Boeri Architetti

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