A New Bio-Architectural Vision for an Old Factory
Once an olive-oil processing plant, with housing for staff, this post-World War Two construction has been transformed into a smart, low environmental impact residential complex that merges tradition and respect for the original identity with technological and automation solutions that comply with nZEB standards. The original outline of the building remains clearly evident, but the design by the Rome-based DRA&U architecture practice has clearly given these homes in Castel Gandolfo a refined, contemporary sense, playing with materials and cleverly turning the glazing into an
The complex consists of four connected blocks in parallelepiped shapes of differing sizes and heights (one to three above-ground floors) that house an equivalent number of apartments with private gardens and terraces. There is also a shared space with a playground for children and a communal space for growing vegetables.
The inherent character of the place can easily be discerned from the outside through the exterior lines, through the courtyard overlooked by the “busy” north-western façade and through the choice of materials and finishes, with traditional white plaster contrasted with Siberian larch planks.
The actual construction saw the use of various T2D products, particularly as the company specializes in brick structures, especially load-bearing ones for areas with elevated seismic risk and high-performance thermal envelopes. For this design, which was one of the finalists in the Poroton® 2022 award, the following were used: the Acustica® line (high-mass blocks for the construction of internal partitions that separate living units); Poroton® interlocking partitions, lightened with wood flour to achieve supreme sound insulation; Poroton® P600 porous thermal blocks for double wall and single-layer infills; and TRIS® infills.
The latter is a comprehensive thermal break building system that leverages blocks fitted with Neopor® insulation panels to achieve excellent thermal performance.
Such solutions, in combination with the positioning of windows, low-transmittance doors and windows, mechanical ventilation systems, and solar and photovoltaic panels, are crucial for meeting the parameters of the nZEB energy class. The high-degree of automation also plays its part, starting with the air conditioning and lighting, but extending to power and load management. This truly is bio-architecture that can proudly claim energy independence.