Posts Tagged ‘london’

redundant smoke – A Room For London

A Room for London, coincidentally must be developed on a roof, and being on top of things means a lot.

Means having a broader view, having an intuition and the possibility to look beyond the ordinary, that’s the whole idea for the experience (software) and obviously for the building (hardware). And in the event of facing the ordinary, this appears transformed, challenging, interesting.

Redundant smoke, is such a thing possible?

It is, both figuratively and physically. Smoke’s ability to diffuse in the environment and its lightness, are there to grasp, made tangible while floating over the city’s landscape. In material terms, Aerogel represents the ability of capturing a gas “constraining” and making it tangible into a solid object. Aerogel is a material that consists mainly of air (95%) trapped inside a nano-pores structure of silica particulate. Having among its major components air, the material outperforms other materials in terms of thermal and acoustic insulation, structural capabilities, and lightness, diffusion of light, view and experience.

The room is designed as a gradual procession of experiences, from the outside terrace, to the internal space, and ultimately to the room, floating over the city, with a radial view of its surroundings.

Environmental approaches

Aerogel allows very good quality of diffused natural light reducing the use of electricity in daylight conditions. Lighting in dwellings accounts for 20-30% of the overall energy consumption.

We tried to focus the project strategy on simplicity: manual mechanism and passive techniques are widely used to reduce the overall building energy consumption for heating/cooling/lighting. The building performances we found most appropriate for London climatic conditions are based on extreme internal insulation panels (Aerogel) with heavy thermal mass mainly located into the floor slab and in partitions.

The thermal mass helps to stabilize the indoor temperature, absorbing and collecting the excess of heat during the day and releasing it during the night when indoor temperature is likely to drop. Internal insulation panels (made out of pure Aerogel) prevent heat losses during the night.

The building is oriented along the north-south axis. This expedient reduces the south facing glazed area.


Assembling the components with the technique of vacuum allows a DRY setup of materials, that are tightened up together by the atmospheric pressure. In this way facade clusters are fabricated minimizing machinery and there is no waste of material during the construction process. In fact after the life-cycle of the building components will be disassembled.

Every material will go back to its initial status, facilitating re-usage.

In this way the carbon footprint of the building is drastically reduced.


TEAM LEADER: Berardo Matalucci

PRINCIPALS:Fabiano Spano, Enrico Crobu

COLLABORATORS: Guillermo I. López Domínguez, Carmine Leone

Location: London, UK

Year: 2010

Type of commission: Design Competition

Promoted by: Living Architecture and Artangel

Woolwich Square @ CHORA


The overarching vision is to connect the separate and fragmented parts of the site into a coherent spatial composition with the potential to extend outside the site boundaries towards the Arsenal and River Thames beyond. As such the project becomes part of a wider regeneration strategy and pedestrian network of interlinked public open space. The strong conceptual approach is based on a unique collaboration and full integration of art, architecture and landscape architecture represented in a dynamic field of spheres which reflects upon the site’s historical heritage as well activates a sense of community and addresses important aspirations regarding carbon neutralfootprint and sustainability. The scheme is embedded in its locality but it projects and embraces global aspirations.

woolwich square

woolwich square


The spheres create a civic narrative out of the presence of the Arsenal. They guide pedestrians from the Thames through the various public spaces or from the stations to the Thames. They nudge, tease, appear to roll themselves and are functional. They create a strong identity, one you cannot forget but at the same time is deeply rooted in history. However full the square is they will be there for guidance and continuity. At key points they offer help or space.

Woolwich square


Berardo Matalucci

Collaboration with CHORA

Partners: Buro Happold, Gross Max Landscape and ZEF sustainability Consultant Engineers

Type: Invited tender 2007

Location: LONDON, UK