StudioDosi has proposed a double-skinned, vegetation-covered headquarters for the Province of Parma in Italy. Designed by a talented group of young Italian architects and engineers, the plan features a wide array of green building strategies, extensive gardens and most notably, a living exoskeleton meant to provide shade and natural ventilation for the real building underneath.
In March of 2009, the Province of Parma issued a request for proposals for a new headquarters. Of the 77 international firms that entered, 15 were shortlisted and among them was StudioDosi, led by Stefano Dosi and a team of other designers. StudioDosi proposed a 4-level compact structure, with one level underground and three above, totaling 13,500 sq meters. The entire building is made up of two skins – the inner one has double glazing and the outer one is composed of “irregular shaped climbing vegetable strips.” This double-skinned exterior has a wide air gap in between, which shades the inner building and encourages natural ventilation, but still allows a lot of natural light to enter through the windows.
Natural ventilation is also encouraged by the use of ‘wind towers’ that help warm air escape, and more natural light is let in through three groups of skylights and atria in the center of the building. Waste water is collected and the design takes many steps to encourage storm water infiltration. The headquarters also utilizes both thermal solar and photovoltaics to help create energy for the building and geothermal plant to maximize energy efficiency, resulting in a zero-carbon structure.