Owner / Investor
Mario Cucinella Architects
The design solutions aim to encourage the re-discovery of constant interaction between the users of UNIPOL Group Headquarters and the surrounding climate, empowering them to actively modify their working spaces to increase their comfort levels. Different façade elements (façade geometry, external shading, and movable louvers) for different orientations, together with the optimization of the plans’ depth and the MEP micro-zoning, allow all working spaces to benefit from 70% of daylight autonomy; while communal mitigated transitional areas like the atrium and the roof greenhouse (both fully naturally ventilated) allow for smoother transitions between indoor and outdoor and space coupling with the outdoors, especially during the mild mid-seasons. The integration of the above passive design solutions increases the users’ adaptive opportunities significantly, with a direct effect on the improvement of both their visual and thermal comfort and the consequent increase in their satisfaction and productivity.
The building massing is the result of the optimization of passive design choices towards active strategies. It aims, indeed, to maximize the building energy efficiency by reducing the overall energy consumption, and covering the resulting demand with renewable sources. The south-facing atrium acts as a gigantic thermal buffer, storing solar gains during the winter season while offering shading and natural ventilation through the stack effect during the summer season. This, together with the implementation of a double ventilated facade around the East, West, and North orientations, creates a microclimatic boundary condition that reduces the overall heating and cooling loads by 25% and 30% respectively. The production of heating and cooling is a fully electric heat pump system combined with an open groundwater loop (particularly effective in Milan). The heat pumps are partially powered by a PV system installed on top of the greenhouse. The expected overall energy use is around 30 kWh/m2, in line with the 2020 nZEB EU targets and the expected LEED V3-Platinum certification requirements.
UNIPOL Group Headquarters is a LEED V3-Platinum-certified building, so all materials and processes used during construction were compliant in regard to responsible material sourcing (wood coming from FSC certified forests, concrete with low-CO2 aggregates, recycled material up to the 30% of the total used, etc.). In addition to this, the general contractor has been requested by the client to provide EPC declarations for all materials as well as VOC-free certificates, exceeding the already demanding LEED V3-Platinum requirements. The project focuses a lot on water use and recycling, maximizing landscape and soft paving to increase permeable surfaces to collect rainwater. The water collected is treated and reused for both irrigation and toilet flushing, avoiding significant drinkable water waste.