In Italy, one architecture firm creatively used local materials like volcanic ash and prickly pear fibers to create a gorgeous bioclimatic home. 0-co2 architettura sostenibile, led by architect Bart Conterio, designed casa G-M to blend in with the local Mediterranean landscape. The energy efficient house showcases the idea of "architecture without architects."
casa G-M sits on the coast of the Mediterranean Sea, and the calm natural colors of the house fit in with the seaside environment. The exterior walls are made of tufo, a local stone created when volcanic ash builds up. Cork panels provide insulation. The thick tufo walls also are covered with a “thermal coat plaster;” that’s where the prickly pear comes in. The builders blended natural fibers from prickly pear plants onsite with other local materials like clay and lime. The interior design utilizes recycled materials, and the builders did not use “chemical additives, resins, and solvents.”
In addition to the building materials, the layout of the house draws on bioclimatic design. 0-co2 architettura sostenibile noted wind direction and the sun’s path to consider the form and orientation of the home. Window and patio placement allow for ventilation. Wide walls enable casa G-M to take in and store thermal energy in the winter, and keep the home cool in the summer.
Solar energy gathered by rooftop solar panels powers the home. There’s also a biomass boiler in the residence. Further, casa G-M is equipped with systems to recycle rainwater and greywater.
casa G-M is meant to look as if it was there “all along,” and “aims to link the technological and typological characteristics of the building with the climatic characteristics of the site and the use of renewable energy resources, recovering the ancient rules of construction related to the local micro-climate and other local resources available.”
Images courtesy of Bart Conterio