Sustainable Mediterranean Construction

Sustainable Mediterranean Construction



Marta Calzolari, Pietromaria Davoli

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«Architecture is a strange mixture of obstinate persistence and constant flux» (Koolhaas, 2014), is written in the 2014 Venice Architecture Biennale catalogue. Referring to the fundamentals of building construction, there is an allusion to the fact that many of its constitutive elements have not changed in thousands of years of cultural, social, and technological transformation, but they have been rather re-invented and developed. One of these is certainly the “fire”, that represents a source of thermal energy, with its container because the man’s constructive habits have always been strongly influenced by the need of protection against atmospheric agents. This has played a key role within the evolution process of the space for living and the building envelope that encloses it. Nowadays, as well as in prehistory, in most cases heating derives from fire. Differently from the past, it has currently been moved from the centre of principal rooms to technical service places (thermal power plants in underground areas or within specific buildings). At most it is integrated with home furnishings or placed into service areas within each residence but without constitute a direct heating source. Before the Nineteenth Century and even more with the advent of Industrial Revolution, the theme of interior comfort, in its current meaning, took its first steps as a Science. Building structures and space utilization were expected to satisfy “new” requirements of high internal environmental standards. Earlier, the heating system was merged to architecture and space: the fire and the volumetric shape of the construction defined the indoor climate. Afterwards, as a consequence of technological progress, everything was relied on the “machine”. This has led to control the internal environment conditions increasingly through energy and less and less through the building envelope. Therefore, the relationship between architecture and plants design was questioned and the role of architectural design was distinguished from the plant system one (XX century). As known, this practice has gradually strengthened the belief that active environmental supports could solve every climate control issue, even though for decades now this cultural arrogance has experienced a remarkable decline: the awareness of depending on something unreliable, not unlimited, that might be missing without notice, has increased. […]


SMC N.04 2016

L’ultimo numero della Rivista
SMC N. 18 | 2023