The idea behind this project was to create a new type of co-working center, which included a fab-lab and workshops open to all inhabitants of the city of Gallarate. The project involves the reuse of a liberty villa (an architectural style typical of the Varese province), abandoned for years and in a poor state of preservation, and the realization of an extension, in the form of a new volume, capable of grafting and dialoguing with the existing building.
Regarding the existing building, given its architectural value and being protected by the heritage superintendency the interventions were limited to the structural consolidation of the floors, to the thermal insulation of all the external dispersing surfaces and to the restoration of the deteriorated parts. The real challenge, however, was the expansion project, a small volume (about 300 m3) developed on two levels and which would serve, first of all, as a vertical connection element with the existing building and designed to achieve the performance of zero emission building. This last aspect has influenced some design choices such as the shape of the roof, which has a pitch of 30° to better accommodate the solar panels, and the positioning of the new volume, located south-west of the existing building in such a way to maximize sunlight from the south.
The building structure is made completely in steel with load bearing vertical elements realized by using HE pillars (plus some walls made in reinforce concrete that work as bracing elements) linked, at floor level, with horizontal diaphragms made by IPE beams and steel-concrete composite slab. For the foundations we opted fo inverted t beam footing made in reinforced concrete.
All the envelopes and infill walls are designed to reach high level of energy performance, in so doing all the transmittances and resistance values have been computed in order to choose the materials necessary for this need. For external coating copper sheets were used.
It’s been also designed the energy system, based on solar collectors and heat-pump, in order to support a sustainable energy performance in both heating and cooling.