The Islas Commercial Office Building in Samedan, Switzerland hides a secret inside - it's actually an energy storage facility. Like a battery that stores electricity, Islas stores energy in the form of heat. Designed by Mierta & Kurt Lazzarini Architekten, the office makes use of concrete floors, underground water tanks and a large solar system on the roof to soak up the sun's energy and store it inside for later use.
The Islas Office Building is located in Samedan between the Inn River and Kantonal Road. Mierta & Kurt Lazzarini Architekten took inspiration for the building’s facade from the nearby riverbed and the stepped hillsides in the distance. The wavy rusty iron sheet and the glass facade reflect the surroundings and the ever-changing light. The four-story structure includes a central atrium and circulation core for each of the four businesses within: migrolino-store, a dental surgery, a beauty clinic and an architecture office.
A clever energy-saving system is integrated throughout the entire building, and intelligent controls manage all the equipment. On the roof, a large solar photovoltaic system soaks up the sun’s energy, which is stored in water tanks under the building. Similarly, each level features concrete floors, which absorb the sun’s heat during the day and transfer that heat to the interior of the building for use later in the night. Also, rejected heat from the migrolino store’s refrigerator system is moved throughout the building for heating elsewhere. Thanks to these systems, very little additional heating is needed during the cooler months.
Images ©Mierta & Kurt Lazzarini Architekten