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"Thermos House"

A single-family house
Roma 1995

The site is located in Ponte Mammolo, an area on the northeastern outskirts of Rome situated between two main roads, Via Nomentana and Via Tiburtina. The house was built on one of the few available lots obtained by subdivision. The settlement goes back to the early 1940s and was principally developed with typologies of detached houses. Several taller buildings were constructed around the church, which acted as the pivot. Only over the past few years have any significant projects been constructed in the area including a new church, shopping centers, a Telecom office building, private buildings, and public housing.

Because of climatic exposure and to safeguard privacy, the building has been rotated with respect to the street and the axis of the lot. Without a main façade all the elevations are of equal importance. All the services have been placed on the northern side, and the walls kept solid. The stairs and breakfast room are to the east in full morning light. The day area and bedrooms are oriented towards the south and the west. As in all the other rooms, the openings of the rooms on the upper stories have been provided with brise-soleil in reinforced concrete to screen any excess light. Two ribbon windows drawn from the triangular flower boxes ventilate and illuminate the basement where there is a large garage and hobby room.

The anti-seismic load-bearing structure was built in reinforced concrete with brackets that support the wall panels from the ground floor. The wall characterizes the house. By rotating geometrically 90° and prolonging or withdrawing itself on the property, it delimits, opens, and conceals the spaces creating powerful plays of shadow. It hurls the house towards the sky harmonizing the vertical with the horizontal lines. The partitions are constructed in air-brick to guarantee excellent dwelling comfort and perfect fire resistance. Pressed cork panels were chosen for the insulation and applied directly to the outside façade to prevent heat loss. The wall surfaces are in plaster; the finish coat has a mineral-based salmon coloring. The combination of air-brick, exterior cork panels, and interior and exterior plaster provides excellent thermal and acoustical insulation.

La casa thermos

Foto plastico
Foto plastico
Foto edificio lato nord
Schema con riferimento agli elementi bioclimatici
Pianta piano terra
Prospetto est
Sezione fattori bioclimatici - estate
Areazione solaio e fondazioni
Coibentazione a “cappotto” con sughero
Pavimentazione rampa con porfido e mattoni
Foto scala interna
Zona giorno
Foto prospetto ovest
Foto prospetto est


 The curtain rolls up into an upper box and runs along two steel cables drawn in tension. A sensor automatically commands the curtain’s closure in case of rain so that the glass enclosure does not get wet. Along the same lines, the curtain protects against excessive heat and outside light due to eastern exposure.

 The foundations are drained on the outside to avoid rotting, humidity, and bacteriologically unhealthy areas.

 A rain-water tank was installed as an alternative water source and for watering the garden.

 “Electrical current barriers” have been installed, above all in the bedrooms, to avoid electromagnetic fields that are dangerous to the health

 Cavities housing all the canalization of the various systems were designed to facilitate inspection.

 Drainage and support of the earth pressure is contained with the use of the geo-textile “Deflon

 Openings on the north were excluded (with the exception of service functions) and the building was oriented in the most efficient way

 The insulation and wall emissivity in air-brick was coupled with mineral-based plaster.

 Special care was taken in the choice of materials and finishings employed: air-brick, mineral-based paint, stone, wood, and cork. The foundations and the basement floor are completely aerated to improve dwelling comfort, to protect against material deterioration, and to impede the propagation of noxious gases such as Radon.

 The large glass enclosure of the stair uniting the day area to the night area is provided with an outside curtain in rain proof micro-perforated fiber that makes it possible to see outside without, in turn, being seen.

 The microclimate surrounds the dwelling rendering it cool, healthy, and gratifying.

 The large windows with sliding and folding panels are provided with double glazing and built-in motorized blinds in white. The frames are insulated to prevent condensation as are the fixtures produced by “Schüco.

 The bris-soleil and the blinds impede excessive summer solar exposure

 In the summer months, a thermostat controls the temperature of the staircase that, connected to a fan placed on the roof, keeps the temperature cool and constant. The large “Vortice” fan guarantees a constant change of air inside the dwelling.

 An energy-saving boiler was installed. The system is preset for the eventual installation of solar collectors.

 Each floor can be independently heated

 The flat roof was paved with light-colored ceramic tiles to reflect the sun’s rays.

 The garden, even if small in size, was planted with many small shrubs and only a few tall shrubs.

 Strawberry-trees, broom, raphiolepis, thyme, and rosemary recreate a place that is exquisitely Mediterranean in its scents and forms. The small pond and the plantings generate a microclimate, a habitat for blackbirds, lizards, frogs, and goldfish.

 Walls absorb day-time heat and only emit it inside the dwelling overnight.


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