» Sustainable Architecture

    Energi Research Group University College

  •  Progettista capogruppo: Arch. Benedetto Resio

  • Gruppo di progettazione
    Arch. Albino Pozzi
    Arch. Luigi Fabbri
    Arch. Abbiati Massimo
    Arch. Monica Brenga
    Arch. Davide Brambilla

Zephyr Competition - model


Zephyr competition - Dublin -  1994 - Energy Research Group

This project is located in the south-European climatic zone designated as zone 1; it thus has to confront the need to provide heating in winter as well as cooling in summer.
The choice of the urban area of Milan means that the need for cooling is slightly greater than the need for heating.
The plan proposes three multifunctional modules for housing and for offices, in an inner city area which has become available following the relocation outside the city of the old Milanese prison of San Vittore.
The three modules, two side by side and one standing alone, form a single building group with parking space which is mainly underground. The framework of the modules is of steel.
The excavated soil is used on site to articulate the surrounding area at various levels, and to create a balance between building volumes above and below ground level, so that the internal microclimate, both in summer and in winter, can profit from the thermic inertia of the earth.
The plan centres on the creation of a buffer/ climate zone bounded by the ground, by glass, and by the southern front of the buildings: in effect a large green-house completely integrated with the buildings.
This space acts as a large "thermic flywheel" in winter, and in summer as a ventilation mass of cooled air. To this end air is caused to circulate, entering through a tower situated to the north, flowing through underground ducts approximately thirty-five metres long which cool it down, and entering the buffer zone in six points in each building module. This air is then forced into the interspaces provided for between each ceiling and floor, which are at least twenty centimetres high and open to the south while closed in all other directions. The air movement is caused by the suction created by a tower connected to the interspaces, which works as a solar chimney and is situated in the centre of the buildings. In the absence of solar radiation, or in concurrence, a large fan is automatically activated using electric energy produced by a series of photovoltaic panels placed on the roof, which also serve to supplement further energy needs.
The buildings are equipped with independent auxiliary heating systems with coils at ceiling level where cold water can circulate in the summer.
The shading of the vertical south wall of the sun space is provided by a brise-soleil. The transparent roof is shaded by automatically controlled external blinds. The two glassed end walls are protected by a brise-soleil which follows the curve in the upper part, and by automatically controlled external blinds.
The cooling circulation does not interfere with the air used for the ventilation of the buildings.
A series of summary tests has confirmed that the simplicity of the concept translates into constructional and functional simplicity, producing the predicted advantages in the opposing climatic conditions of winter and summer, using the same single system and operating solely in one direction.