HI - TALICA house
Sustainable housing for Italy
Building a house in the countryside means creating a unique link between people and a place.
Building in Italy requires particular care and attention for what is one of the most precious landscape systems in the world.
The Italian landscape, due to its variety, but above all its cultural value, has always been an indivisible part of the planning process. Talking about landscape in a context such as Italy inevitably leads to discussion of the profound ties between the different components which make up the landscape and investigation of the visual, perceptive and formal links which these relationships determine.
The project proposal has its roots in the concept of lightness, flexibility and adaptability of sustainable housing. The search for symbiosis in the relationship between buildings and their landscape requires an innovative and dynamic solution, which can be integrated in the many situations offered by the landscape.
The need for a system
The ability to meet the needs of Italy and its people has led to the creation of a high-tech integrated modular system, the HI-TALICA HOUSE SYSTEM, specifically created for Italy.
Maximum flexibility also means maximum choice, and for this reason the HI-TALICA house project offers maximum options in terms of architectural/environmental strategies. The module is composed of a prefabricated metal structure of 22.5 square metres. Based on the purchasers choices, transparent or solid window/wall packages, partitions, finishes and technological systems can then be added to best suit any and all specific situations. The complete system of modules and components can be adapted to different climates and landscapes, users and requirements. Even when choosing the elements from the catalogue, the user is already developing a sensitivity towards sustainable strategies for their home. The different components can be chosen and installed inside the utility room module beforehand so as to minimise the impact of the construction, creating an autonomous system with an osmotic relationship with nature (off-grid system). The system can thus be applied even in all those environmentally delicate areas which make up a large part of Italy.
The choice of location: the North Adriatic Coast
Coastal areas represent an extraordinary resource, making up a significant part of Italian cultural identity and with a unique potential for tourism and economic exploitation. These areas contain very different situations and important values, but the various seaside towns, coastline, ports and beaches also have widespread decay in common.
For this reason, attention to the landscape must today cut across all intervention policies and be central in the research and debate concerning not just planning, but also its architecture. The quality of the landscape is a fundamental resource, also in economic terms, a necessary condition for creating sustainable development, for protecting and exploiting the country at the same time.
The coastline has, over time, taken on an ever-more important role in building the identity of the Italian landscape. The Adriatic coast has always been an experimental canvas on which planning and construction choices have formed different important examples in Italian architectural culture.
The coast now assumes a role beyond the already established one of “fun factory”, living exclusively for occasional or seasonal tourism.
We are therefore pushing towards a new conception of holiday locations as a place to “live on holiday”. In this sense, choosing single family houses follows the desire to help young couples obtain maximum simplicity in construction at low costs, while maintaining high architectural quality.
Living in a HI-TALICA house is a new way of living in relationship with nature, in a high-quality, comfortable environment, with low running costs and zero environmental impact. The use of autonomous prefabricated modules allows maximum freedom in choosing the type of dwelling. The aggregative freedom of the base module follows the desire to adapt to the climatic conditions it is located in, and to the choice and the functional requirements of the type of housing. Adding to and combining the base modules provides an infinite array of choices.
The addition of different systems forms a new cultural model of living which is constantly changing, in synergy with the place it is located. Living in a place no longer only means exploiting its resources; quite the contrary, it now means safeguarding them and developing them. In this sense, the Adriatic coast, after years of transformation due to its exploitation, needs to start again from an alternative vision of the development process. Wharfside housing, which has always been an example of this desire, is the example chosen for our project.
HI-TALICA house, standing halfway between the land and sea, is an example of zero landscape impact, forming a new aggregative system which takes the location as the starting point for its growth. Similar to, and going beyond Bachelard's “Rêverie”, for which the act of fantasy through which the order of constructions accumulated on the site is demolished layer by layer, taking on the greatest value of the architect's work, ideally rebuilding the image the landscape possessed at a certain time in the past, the use of the HI-TALICA house, with its presence, and at the same time its adaptability, thus permits perfect symbiosis between the human and natural landscapes.
The proposal provides for the construction of a 45-square-metre single-family home composed of 4 base modules, with two base living modules joined together with a porch and the utility room.
The house will have a living area connected to the porch, a bathroom, a storage room and one or two bedrooms. The house can be configured in a flexible and dynamic manner, changing the layout over time according to the different requirements which may present themselves.
The 45-square-metre HI-TALICA home can house, for example, a young couple who may need to add a children's bedroom after a few years. This bedroom could be partitioned off from the living area, or another living module could be added to the home.
The covering is high performance, more closed on the north-facing side to reduce thermal dissipation in winter, and more open on the south and east sides to favour warming via incident solar radiation. In the summer, these faces are shaded by the porch and by mobile external sun blinds. The transparent openings also allow natural light to be optimised inside the rooms, avoiding excessive glare by providing integrated blackout and filtering blinds in the window units.
Locating the utility room in the west part of the house allows the impact from strong incident solar radiation in the late afternoon combined with the highest air temperatures to be reduced, as it forms a filtering space between the internal and external environments, greatly reducing air-conditioning bills in summer.
The integrated PV solar panels in the roof, combined with the vertical-axis micro wind turbine, allow the house's entire energy requirements to be met, covering use of electrical appliances, including the induction hob, and climate control in winter and summer by powering the reversible heat pump connected to the marine sensors (COP 4.5). This energy supply powers the controlled mechanical ventilation for primary air exchange, ensuring the internal air quality is always ideal. The surplus energy produced by the micro turbine can recharge electrical devices and vehicles (Segway scooter for short trips and electric car for longer ones), making the house genuinely sustainable.
This system allows the energy requirement to be reduced through the house's covering and layout (the project choices are supported by a thorough on-site climate analysis), and the perfect integration of the systems with the structure makes it a genuinely environmentally friendly system, with zero carbon emissions and an optimised level of comfort.
The utility room is the operational core of the house, containing all the pre-integrated systems.
Off-site assembly provides numerous advantages:
- The systems are all integrated, thus avoiding malfunctions caused by different systems put in by different installers
- This integration allows rationalisation of the systems, increasing overall efficiency
- The system is designed to be modular from the start, in order to allow it to be integrated and/or replaced with additional modules in the future
- Work is performed in an industrial manner in a single location for multiple projects, rationalising operator work and travel and allowing the environmental footprint of construction to be reduced
The roof allows rainwater to be recovered and stored in a 1000-litre system for reuse in flushing toilets and hosepipes.
A filter allows this water to also be used in the shower and dishwasher.
The taps and shower have water-saving mixers with flow reducers, and the toilet has a dual cistern, allowing for savings of 50% of total water used and 85% of mains water used compared to a traditional house.
The household appliances are all of the highest energy-efficiency class, and the lighting uses low-energy bulbs.