Ravenna - Italy

Project:   Giovanni Vaccarini 

Chronology:   project: 2008

Staff:  Marco Zitti (project coordinator), Alice Cerigioni, Maria Josè Loffredo, Attilio Mauri

Maquette:  Andreas Manrique

3D modeler:   Giampietro Di Pietro, Marco Scuderi

Client:  Powercrop

Location:  Russi (RA)

The project involved the application of architecture to the design of an integrated system for producing energy and heat from vegetal biomass. The project is situated on the site of the former Eridania Russi (RA) factory.
The design focused on two main themes:
- the envelope of the main sections of the facility (biomass boiler, biogas module);
- the system of "edges" and devices of environmental/landscape mitigation.
The new biomass facility sits in a largely agricultural area. The approach was thus to establish a new sensitivity toward relations with the environment, as well as a new philosophy focused on energy from renewable sources, compatible with the environment and ecosystem.
The design of the fields, of the ground marked by the signs and alterations introduced by human activity is the main element of the concept.
The soil is modelled as an agricultural field, becoming an embankment, a berm and a cladding material, similar to a "hill" in the landscape.
The architectural proposal is rooted in the conviction that the buildings should be considered as integral parts of the agricultural landscape surrounding them. Here the scale of the project gives it a role within the landscape to be addressed before designing its individual components.
The external envelope of the main buildings consists of a ventilated wall assembly made from containers filled with earth and autochthonous species of plants and grasses.
This modular system is anchored to a steel substructure that also carries the irrigation and piping lines. The modular elements created a second skin that almost entirely wraps the building, creating a form reminiscent of a “green hill”.
The themes of the perimeter and the border of the complex were interpreted at the scale of the landscape. Earth from excavations is not removed from the site, but reused to model the terrain.
The result is an embankment around the perimeter of the site: simultaneously a natural fence and a landscaped berm that conceals the piles of wood chips from view and establishes a sound absorbing barrier.