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© 2019 by radioarchitettura

Infrastructure-structure-architecture

Venice, Italy - 2016 - Photography: Tiago Casanova

SUMMARY was invited to join the main exhibition of La Biennale di Venezia - 15th International Architecture Exhibition (2016). This invitation came with the challenge proposed by the curator of unravelling the concept behind the Gomos building system or, as he himself wrote on the introductory text about our participation, explaining the transposition “from the infrastructure for basic services to the structure of open architecture”.

The Biennale exhibited two infrastructural pieces and a Gomos piece, so that we can get to know the elements that are part of its core and constitute its conceptual formulation process. With our installation we intended to show that these three pieces are brutally different in shape and in use, but they are the same in constructive terms. We also intended to demonstrate we didn’t invent this system. We took a pre-existent constructive system often used in water drainage infrastructures, commonly defined as sewer pipes, and we transposed it to a habitable constructive system.

Gomos#1

Arouca, Portugal - Photography: Tiago Casanova 

This project is the first built prototype based on a system SUMMARY created as a result of a research and development process with a group of companies, which, in short, configures an effective response to the contemporary need to simplify and speed up the construction process.

Composed of reinforced concrete modules, it is a scalable system in which each module leaves the factory completely ready, including all interior and exterior finishings, insulation, window frames and water and electricity equipment. The on-site assembly can be completed simply by joining and connecting these modules.From a technical perspective, we have chosen to highlight three essential factors that drove the development of this system: Ease of Transport.The modules have specific dimensions to be simply transported without any special requirement, according the applicable laws. Furthermore their design allows an efficient handling of the pieces, despite their substantial weight (23ton. each). 

Energy Efficiency. No hi-tech here, just common sense. This system was designed as a “tube”, whose the bigger openings are located in its extremes. Thus the whole building works as a natural ventilation corridor. This feature, associated to an accurate solar orientation and a fireplace for the most severe winter days, is enough to control the internal humidity and temperature, not requiring mechanical means, such as air conditioning. Constructive Quality. All of the building’s components are produced in a factory environment - under highly controlled conditions and in accordance with previously tested solutions - avoiding problems that can often occur in traditional building.

The development of this system is the result of a partnership between 20 companies specialized in different areas, from concrete prefabrication to technology and industrial automation. In this scenario, the architecture’s role is not just about the design. It’s mainly to coordinate and to make the workflow synthesis, taking advantage of the know-how of each company to enhance every feature of the system.

With the replication of this system in different situations we are not trying to define standard or universal solutions. Contrariwise, we believe it allows to ensure from the very first moment the constructive quality and efficiency, so that we are able to focus on the specificities that each project requires.In this case, the goal was clear: a house with two rooms (that can be extended to three rooms in the future), to be used by people who would be involved in a biologic agricultural project, using some crop fields near to the house space. The program included also an external building to keep the agricultural implements. Plus, to do this in the cheapest and quickest way. 

Our answer was this small house with kitchen and living room connected and almost without circulation space. The external building was approached as a mere concrete shed, with no electricity or window frames, just serving its basic function. We could say the program was as simple as the end result.Anyway the point here is not the result but the process and its efficiency and simplification. This building was raised in 3 months on factory (plus 3 days on-site), within a period 5 times faster than the Portugal’s building-rate average, without compromising its structural quality.

VDC

Vale de Cambra, Portugal - Photography: Building Pictures

This project arose in order to build housing and multi–services spaces, in a common roadside area in Vale de Cambra, Portugal. The construction should be fast, cost effective and changeable over time, which prompted us to use prefabricated elements and to leave parts of the project undefined.The approach was quite simple: a ground floor level for the multi-services program connected with the public space, crowned by the individual housing units. Due to the differences between these two programs, it was created an independent access for each function, placing them in different levels and taking advantage of the natural ground’s slope. 

The ground floor is composed by prefabricated slabs and structural panels in the whole exterior perimeter. Considering the building’s location, in a road-side area where everything changes too fast, the multi-services space is conceived in a very flexible way: the internal spaces’ partition is made with removable panels with inner rails for the distribution of water and electricity systems. This enables future adjustments and modifications: it’s possible to add or remove compartments or let the whole floor to function as an open space. Thus, the users will make their own space, according to the program at hand. The upper floor is all composed of Gomos system units. Considering that the maximum building area permitted by law was quite short, the requested empty space was used to separate the housing units. Conceived and licensed as a collective housing building, with this split this project offers the main advantages of single houses: clearly individualized entrances and a complete acoustic separation between the different units.

In the whole building, the structural material (precast concrete) was directly assumed, without any additional finishing, reducing the manpower and the arts involved in the construction process.

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