Variation of modes of use: functions, users, schedules, etc.

Relationship between the ownership and the form of the investment that allows the transformation

Variation of the overall dimensions of the building

Proportional relationship between new spaces and existing spaces

Relationship between the structural adjustments and the existing structure

Relationship between the forms and types of pre-existing materials and those of the new intervention

Relationship between the image of the new and the image of the existing (mimesis / contrast)




Laboratorio di Architettura Architetti Associati



Laboratorio di Architettura Architetti Associati – Architectural and energy redevelopment of building in Via Palermo (Bolzano)

PROJECT - Main Infos

PROJECT: Laboratorio di Architettura Architetti Associati – Architectural and energy redevelopment of building in Via Palermo (Bolzano)


YEAR: 2019

ARCHITECT / FIRM: Laboratorio di Architettura Architetti Associati

BUYER: IPES (Institute for Social Housing of the Autonomous Province of Bolzano)

SURFACE: 4.570 sqm

PRICE: € 2.950.000,00

The project concerns the architectural and energy redevelopment of buildings used for social housing in Via Palermo n. 74-76-78-80. The intervention is part of the European Symphony Project, which is going to transform the city of Bolzano into a smart-city by 2020. The architectural complex subject of the intervention is a building divided into 5 blocks including cantine a basement floor and 4-6 floors above ground used as a residence. The residence unity, in number of 39 have a surface about 90 square meters, are arranged on staggered floors and are served by 4 stairwells with an elevator added at a later stage. The building, built in 1959, has a reinforced concrete frame with brick infill walls, a pitched roof with a sheet metal roof cover. The building does not show any particular architectural features. The goal set by the European Symphony Project of architectural and energy redevelopment, has been interpreted as the possibility of experimenting with a replicable model of intervention in other contexts and building a new culture for transformation of a huge housing heritage throughout the peninsula, now obsolete. The main commitment was that the inhabitants should remain during the transformation operations. The architectural project has its main objective to reduce construction timing by building as much as possible off-site, and to minimize the work that could be carried out inside. It was therefore theorized, a "design by layers", identified by the designer and recognizable. A layered design has a simple and immediate character and is thought to last and be reversible over time, is flexible because it is able to adapt itself to the various existing conditions, is coherent because it creates a sense of belonging and recognition. Layered design leads to the concept of assembly and the possibility of disassembly without creating new waste. Everything is thought as an intervention made entirely from the outside. Two architectural elements were then identified whom to entrust complementary tasks: transmitting light and sun inside the building, thermally isolating, containing the darkening systems, supporting the plant integrations (VMC), limiting introspection from the outside, reduce economic costs, simplify site management, reduce maintenance costs. The prefabricated "window" and "loggia" elements therefore become the technical / architectural element that combine the architectural and energetically regeneration of the building. Finally, particular attention was paid to restoring the water cycle by inserting green roofs and completely revising the external areas. The increase and rationalization of the green surface and the use of drainage cement significantly increases the permeability of the city, allowing a correct contribution to the underlying water tables. The integration of alternative energies (photovoltaic and solar thermal) completes the technological intervention for the architectural regeneration of the building.

WHAT - Program

TOTAL CONSERVATION / CONTINUITY: The functional program remains the original one.

The architectural and energy regeneration intervention did not change the residential destination of the building; in fact it is emphasized that, as requested by the client, the inhabitants were able to remain in their lodgings during all the construction phases.

WHO - Financing

TOTAL CONSERVATION / CONTINUITY: The investor is the property owner.

The intervention was funded by the Institute for Social Housing of the Autonomous Province of Bolzano (IPES), already owner of the buildings subject to regeneration.

HOW MUCH - Absolute Dimensions


TOTAL CONSERVATION / CONTINUITY: The overall dimensions are equal to the pre-existing surface.


TOTAL CONSERVATION / CONTINUITY: The overall dimensions are equal to the pre-existing volume.

The project did not lead to increases in volume and surface area.

HOW MUCH - Relative Dimensions

PREVALENT CONSERVATION / CONTINUITY: Pre-existing spaces are prevalent with respect to new spaces.

As for the interior spaces there were no surface variations. Only some lodgings have been the object of work, with the internal redistribution of the rooms, as requested by the client.

HOW - Design Strategy STRUCTURE

TOTAL CONSERVATION / CONTINUITY: The original supporting structure is fully preserved and there are no new structures.

The intervention does not include changes to the existing structure.

HOW - Design Strategy MATERIAL

TOTAL REPLACEMENT / DISCONTINUITY: The materials chosen for the new intervention are completely different from the pre-existing ones.

The existing casing is integrated by the new elements "loggia" and "window" made with a dry construction system. The "window" elements consist of a prefabricated timber structure, to be overlay from the outside to the existing window compartment, adjusting the height of the railing to the regulations in force. Once the new elements are assembled, the old frame will be removed, the ventilating machine will be inserted and the interior will be finished. The "window" element contains: the window made of wood / aluminium with double low-emissivity glass, the dimming system with adjustable aluminium foil, the decentralized mechanical ventilation components inserted under the sill, the external finish in white seamed aluminium and the internal plasterboard finish. The prefabricated timber structure must be anchored to the existing floor ring beam and a column of overlapping elements will be created and it will act as a guide for the installation of the external pipes of the electrical system necessary to supply the decentralized air exchange machines from the outside. The "loggia" elements, consisting of an insulated wooden substructure where necessary to eliminate the thermic bridge. The surface is covered with coloured panels in crimped aluminium, are anchored to the existing slab and to the reinforced concrete columns of the façade. The wooden structure and the design of the sheet metal covering have been thought as to be able to divide the "loggia" in different elements made of finished panels allowing to be assembled on site. With the same layer principle the access to the building are redesigned, the compactness of the building has been improved with the re-proposal of some alignments, new plant cavities to allow easy maintenance, all with reversible dry structures.

HOW - Design Strategy IMAGE

BALANCE BETWEEN CONSERVATION AND REPLACEMENT: The new intervention balances elements of continuity and discontinuity with respect to existing structures.

The intervention gives a renewed and unified image of the buildings in question. Furthermore, the reasonable use of colour (white alternating with rust red) allows the building to reduce its composition stiffness, giving a new recognition and identity to the regenerated residential complex.