Italian architect Massimiliano Menegale shared with us his proposal for the SAIE Selection 2010, for which he received 2n prize ex aequo in its category. More images and architect’s description after the break.
“STAY GROUNDED” is a project for a house which won’t steal the ground, won’t bite away another little piece of earth. It’s a proposal for a house lowered into the ground, and with a green roof. All the square meters used to build the inner spaces of the house are given back to nature in form of buried perimetral walls and green roof and garden. This way the temperature of the house is manteined at a constant level because of the partial burying of it. The house is also an answer to our present time, in which we all seem obsessed with appearance, showing off, being at the center of everything so that other people can watch us and admire us for a reason or another. Many of us don’ t want to live this way. Many prefer intimacy, private moments, avoiding that 1984’s Big Brother way of life of being constantly under surveillance or judgement. No windows on the external perimeter of the house, but an inner court that will give light and air to the whole house, granting maximum privacy and also a private inner garden to relax and sunbathe without curious eyes getting on our way. Also there are “light and air cannons” that will create a natural ventilation inside the house, providing a less energyvorous system.
The house can be built in stacks, with “green energy hill” between a house and another; the little hills serve as an energy park, sporting photovoltaic cell panels and microaeolic generators. This way the houses should also be Energy-indipendent and share their part of self generated energy. Inside the hills there are also, buried down under, geotermic systems, allowing to introduce in the houses water and/or air at a constant temperature of 18/20 celsius degrees. This will enable a consistent lowering of the energetic needs to control the climate inside the houses.
The section exemplifies the way the house uses also passive solar energy contribution, and how the light cannons also serve as a passive ventilating sistem. The internal court and the green roof also contribute to lower the temperature of the areas in which the houses are built, enancing the quality of the microclimate.
The house is studied also to have a good passive solar contribution, with ‘’wings’’ protruding from the house to provide protection at the same time against summer sunrays. The ‘’energetic section’’ shows the position of the sun in winter and summer. Also the presence of a seasonal tree in the inner private garden will help to have “leaves shadows” in the hot seasons, and in fall and winter the leaves will drop and let the sun come inside the house. As previously said, hot water for igienical uses and also winter heating are generated by the geothermical system, plus a high efficiency heat generator (pompa di calore a compressione), feeded by electrical energy, provided by the photovoltaic park built between the ground houses. The stratigrafy of roofs and walls is also studied to provide ideal thermic insulation in every season: the hills beside the houses provide a constant temperature outside the partially grounded walls, and the green roof also provides a perfect massive protection against the hot weather.
In the area near Ferrara, Italy, where the houses were ideated to be built, there could be possibly some problems due to high percentage of radon gas in the underground. If the concentration would be major than 40 baquerel for m3 of air, then the solution would be either a 30 cm concrete continouos foundation, or a specific membrane (for example, DuPont has several specific products for this situation, also providing butilic adhesive for maximum security sealing).
The houses were studied to have an “A Class” Energy performance, but with a minimum use of petroleum-based insulation products.
Architect: Materica Studio – Massimiliano Max Menegale Location: Ferrara, Italy House Area: 202.68 sqm Gardens Area: 435.84 sqm Energy hills Area: 544.05 sqm