Italian architecture firm Modostudio recently completed the Elisabeth and Helmut Uhl Foundation's new headquarters, an environmentally sensitive building that boasts spectacular panoramic views of the northern Italian mountains. Selected from an internatonal design competition held by the private arts and science foundation in 2011, the building follows the design requirements that the structure house various foundation activities and maximize views of the surroundings. In addition, the architects also maximized the structure's energy-efficiency with features such as a sun shading system and a wood thermal-insulation envelope.
The new building serves as the Elisabeth and Helmut Uhl Foundation’s new headquarters and houses a mix of room types, including a glasshouse for experimental plant cultivation, refectory, and meeting rooms. Set atop a mountain, the split level building was built to accommodate the hilly topography and minimize changes to the landscape. To take advantage of breathtaking mountain views, the architects wrapped parts of the angular building in tall floor-to-ceiling glazing and added an outdoor observation deck on the roof of the lower building volume.
Built with sustainable design principles, the foundation’s new headquarters was designed with the same footprint as the crumbling barn and house that had previously occupied the site. Much of the construction material used was salvaged from the demolished building, such as the 200-year-old wood used for flooring. To maximize energy efficiency, the compact building draws water from a nearby spring for under-floor heating and hot air from the glasshouse is recycled to heat other sections of the structure. Natural ventilation, solar thermal heating, and a wood thermal-insulation envelope also help keep energy costs at a minimum.
Images via Modostudio Facebook