Italian design: Prefabricated Made in Italy, a less known italian design
- WTI Magazine #111 Jan 19, 2019
When it comes to intervening on a natural territory, every single decision must be taken in harmony with the surroundings, in-sink with the rhythms and materials of nature. Maybe this is what Roberto Dini and Stefano Girodo, research architects at the Mountain Architect Institute of Turin, had in mind when together with Leapfactory designed a lodge on the top of the Italian Alps.
Leap stands for Living Ecological Alpine Pod and the firm is not new to these type of projects; the vision and philosophy of this architecture firm is to research and design a harmonious coexistence between man, nature and artefact, redefining the culture of dwelling, of workspace and life.
At the altitude of 3,290 meters the 2 architects and the firm were able to make this vision tangible. This incredible bivouac, named after Luca Pasqualetti a mountain lover passed away on the Apuan Alps in 2014, is literally anchored to a rocky slope. The shelter has got space to storage mountaineering equipment, a table for eight people and an area to prepare food. It comes with a separated sleeping areas also for a party of 8.
The philosophy of these type of constructions is to bring all the confort and everything needed but with the lowest or close to 0 impact. Entirely prefabricated, it has got a steel and wood structured designed for optimal transportation; the remote area where the bivouac was placed and the extreme climatic conditions, typical of those elevations, contributed to design a structure that could be easily transported by helicopter and assembled on spot. Ultimately the structure can be dismantled again to leave a minimal impact on the environment, as the dwelling has not a permanent concrete basement and all its components are recyclable.
The views from the bivouac are stunning, but that is just mother nature being majestic on the Alps; this dwelling allows climbers that are able to push themselves so far into nature to find a comfortable shelter, even equipped with a small battery powered by solar energy.
This sort of projects have allowed the architects of the Leapfactory to research and experiment on the efficiency of the construction process, on the use of environmental friendly materials and on solutions to reduce the impact on the areas chosen to put the prefabricated houses and ultimately about sustainable construction measures in general, a knowledge than can later on be applied to the construction of everyday bespoke prefabricated homes.
Alternative dwellings are on the rise due to urbanisation, nomad live styles and and to an increase demand for more sustainable and efficient ways of living, as people become more aware of the impact on nature of every choice made.
Leapfactory is showing all its potential when it comes to innovation, efficiency and design; by carrying out projects in harsh environments, such as the bivouac on the Apuan Alps, the firm has developed components that are highly performative. An example is the Leaphome shell: external walls extremely efficient in term of insulation versus thickness, allowing to create a more usable space of the dwellings, a step forward in reducing environmental impact. Showing to the world a less know Made in Italy.