- Project Manager : Luca Colombo
- Design Team : Tom Lacey, Francesco Isabella, Simone Alberi, Ilaria Brollo
- Geotechnical : Celotti Claudio
- City : Milan
- Country : Italy
Text description provided by the architects. The transformation of Via Tortona, which was started by the businessman Alessandro Cajrati Crivelli back in the 1990s, is continuing, revealing its full potential for redeveloping and reinterpreting some of the most interesting urban spots in the metropolis. The Tortona 37 project by Matteo Thun & Partners is part of this healthy process of reusing the land and strengthening it through low environmental impact architecture. A building project which salvages a former industrial plant covering 25,000 square metres (it used to belong to General Electric) and restores it to the city through cutting-edge energy-efficient technology. Tortona 37 is a mixed-purpose architectural complex composed of five buildings set out like the courtyard around a garden planted with trees. Each rectangular-based building has 6 levels allowing double-exposures for the property units. They are double height (7 m) units generating open spaces with an interior mezzanine of great functional versatility. Here showrooms, laboratories, professional studios, shop and offices find their own custom design: the highly flexible interior spaces also ensure sustainably over time. An overhanging white lattice on the facade frames the wide glass windows of the entire complex, which culminates up on the roof with large terrace, authentic urban plazas with extensive views across the horizon.
Every design feature is aimed at achieving maximum energy efficiency, cleverly coordinating the architectural design with the plant-engineering: from the air-conditioning system working along geothermal lines to the use of radiant panels in the interiors and the careful study carried out for the outside shell.
The glass facade, incorporated in a system of outside curtains, is highly efficient at reducing the impact of sunlight (up to 87%) to prevent the interiors from overheating during summer. Further screening is provided by the wooden shutters (a material used “purely”) on the window frames and large overhanging bow-windows, so that its image evolves naturally over time.
Geothermal exploitation is a cutting-edge principle of eco-sustainability, still not used very frequently in Italy but acknowledged as providing definite environmental benefits. First and foremost, geothermal energy is a free source of Energy. Milan’s ground water is always available at a constant temperature, warmer than the outside air in winter, cooler than it in summer: a highly beneficial starting point from an energy viewpoint.
37 Tortona exploits geothermal energy to create hot and cold water (even simultaneously) by means of water/water polyvalent heat pumps , one of the most efficient systems currently available causing least environmental impact.
Four wells extract groundwater at a temperature of between 14°C-16°C depending on the time of year. The water is conveyed into an underground catchment and decantation tank and then supplied to each of the individual building units by means of heat pumps.
Tortona 37 uses a mixed system of primary air and radiant ceiling panels for climatising the interiors. The radiant ceiling panels used in the Tortona 37 complex are the ideal complement to the water-based heat pumps perfectly to create an efficient energy system. The panels are supplied by “low-temperature hot” water in winter and “high-temperature cold” water in summer and only require a minimum amount of energy to operate at various times of year1. Moreover, the ambient temperature is controlled by means of irradiation with no noise or air currents to ensure maximum comfort in the areas occupied by people. The primary air is provided by processing units fitted with pre-processing batteries also drawing on ground water. Compared to conventional systems, the main benefits are high energy efficiency, zero emission at the installation site, no sound or landscape impact.