Genius Loci Architettura gives Gucci an energy efficient facade.
FLORENCE (IT) - For the new executive offices of Gucci, located outside the company's home base of Florence, Genius Loci Architettura chose to combine the reuse of an existing structure (an old factory) with the application of hi-tech materials. The specialized insulating glass comprising the converted building's rectilinear facade has a woven metal interlayer that offers both visual interest and protection from the sun. In addition to cutting glare from sunlight, the material acts as a barrier to heat loss, effectively lowering the transmission of energy in both directions. In short, contrasting light and colour effects contribute to the upscale image a brand like Gucci desires, while its choice for energy efficiency in an updated, pre-existing building reflects the spirit of the times. (Dutton R. Hauhart)
Form and line adhering to the ordered principles of geometry, surfaces and facades wrapped in precious but high tech materials, these are the tangible expressions of the Gucci brand, where quality and high fashion co-exist alongside historical tradition, which are to be found at the company's new offices outside Florence. Converted from a decommissioned factory, the four-storey compact office block is lightened by external surfaces clad in OKATECH. The panels of copper mesh are sandwiched between glass panels to catch and reflect sunlight. Each panel is distinct in tone and colour and this most original of materials produces a variety of chromatic effects whether in response to natural or artificial light or from different viewpoints around the building.
Internally, the lobby makes use of the maximum height available with double and triple height volumes that emphasize the continuity of the public areas, where special corners and vistas are designed to be sought out and enjoyed from different floors and vantage points within the building.
The level of performance of the building is based on the most rigorous criteria for sustainability from the material cladding the exterior to all other materials and technology used.
The project arose from the need to transform a redundant factory into a building suitable for offices when, following a corporate reorganization, Gucci recalled most of its executive offices back to the company's historic base in Florence. The building sat on a large plot of land already owned by Gucci that runs alongside the A1 motorway and required an envelope of simplified forms that demonstrated strength of character through the materials used, that could be integrated organically with the existing building, and display a contemporary spirit whilst remaining in keeping with the wider campus and grounds.
The character of the new building is distinguished by the strength of the external envelope that wraps around it, the cladding characterized by the three alternating materials used and the building's sustainability which is included in every part of the design.
Firstly, the copper mesh enclosed between glass panels stands proud of the building's facade on two levels both on the western and a portion of the eastern facade. The panels have a high insulation factor; the glass and metal skin reduces traffic noise and provides shade from the sun's rays, which are particularly strong given the full exposure on the western elevation to the sun, and also radically reduces energy costs. The internal cladding system comprises three glass panels and is the only technology that gives protection from the sun, avoiding the use of brise soleil and other sunscreen systems, as well as ensuring views from the inside out. Whether under natural daylight, artificial light or from different viewpoints around the building the unique character of the copper mesh ensures a myriad of chromatic effects.
The other materials used for the envelope facade include glass and panels of GRC (Glass Reinforced Concrete) a mix of cement malt and glass fibres which are used in double layers and contain an internal insulator able to guarantee a high level of radiation protection and heat loss. These panels are used alternately to ensure adequate natural light internally. Standing proud of the glass panels or embedded into the glass partitions, they establish a sculptural rhythm, giving the building a greater interest through the use of the material.
Monday | 21 November | 2011 | Italy | Genius Loci Architettura