The search for greater energy efficiency has become a primary objective in the field of architecture and construction, and little by little, various sectors of the world industry are adopting measures in this direction. It is no longer just a question of optimizing economic resources, but also that there is a growing interest in sustainability and respect for the environment.
Studio Koichi Takada Architects has designed a carbon-positive house called Casa Girasol that follows a maxim from the Bauhaus school: “form follows function”. The project was commissioned by Bloomberg Green, who commissioned Takada to design a house that would represent Europe’s sustainable future.
La Maison du Tournesol is inspired by the plant that bears its name, both for its aesthetics and for its function, since it makes the most of all the energy provided by the Sun. It will be built on the beautiful hills of the Italian region of Le Marche.
form follows nature
The Bauhaus helped shape the social and economic transition to an industrial society and the 20th century under the maxim “form follows function”.
A century later, humanity is facing problems such as climate change and population explosion. At this rate, we will be ten billion people by the middle of the century and if lasting measures are not taken in this regard, the future scenario of the planet does not bode well.
“Buildings and infrastructure are responsible for at least 40% of all greenhouse gas emissions. The time has come to rethink the New European Bauhaus, modern living in harmony with naturethey say of Koichi Takada Architects.
The very term, sunflower, gives the clue: “Le Marche is known for its rolling farmland and yellow fields teeming with sunflowers. It is a fast growing crop that thrives in sun and turns in your direction“, they point out from the study.
a ray of sunshine
Why inspiration in a sunflower? “We strive to harness the energy of the sun. The roof and each of the floors rotate with sensors for maximum sun exposure or for optimum performance and comfort of use, maximizing or minimizing heat gain, especially in the extreme heat conditions recently experienced in the Mediterranean climate .», explains Koichi Takada Architects.
Maximizing sun exposure throughout the day results in the highest possible solar power output, an estimated 40% increase in power output over static panels.
La Maison du Tournesol is naturally heated through the use of earth tubes, a technique invented by the Romans. As they point out in the study, “the sun heats the chimney, causing the air inside to rise, drawing air through the cold pipe. The pipe cools the air extracted from outside to the temperature of the earth at the depth at which it is buried.a”.
Positive environmental change
“Designers and architects talk about drawing inspiration from nature in an aesthetic sense, but it takes much moresaid Takada.
This visual inspiration is a form of biomimicry (also known as biomimicry or biomimicry), where humans design buildings or spaces to resemble something in nature.
Takada further believes that we should not use biomimicry to superficially replicate nature just for its beauty, but rather replicate its environmental benefits:”It’s not just about making a building look natural, it’s about creating positive environmental change in the homes we live in, the neighborhoods we work and play in, and ultimately the planet we have. the privilege of living.”.
Following the guidelines of biomimicry, the Takada-designed house acts like a sunflower that, pardon the redundancy, rotates to collect solar energy. Additionally, unused energy can be returned to the power grid or stored in a battery.
Other elements that abogan por the sostenibilidad in the Casa Girasol the recolección de agua de lluvia, that is used for the riego and the descarga de los inodoros, the natural ventilation and a secondary rotation mechanism sober the paredes of vidrio protects the edificio of the solar radiation.
A field of sunflower houses
Sunflower House’s structure would be elevated to minimize interference with surrounding biodiversity and could have up to three levels. Each floor could house a two or three bedroom apartment.
Being more ambitious, one could imagine several houses grouped together as a neighborhood. Thus, we would create a green community that would become a field of sunflowers where the “plants” would spread out in a zigzag pattern to maximize exposure to the sun.
“Climate change must be a catalyst for positive change, starting with our humble homes”says Takada, convinced that the future of the planet must change from industrial to natural.
“We need a kinetic and living architecture that respects the environment and at the same time improves the well-being of the human beings who inhabit it“, he concludes.