Iconic, sustainable, accessible
Villoresi Est is an Autogrill motorway service station on the A8 motorway connecting Milan to Varese.
The new Autogrill gradually rises in a volcanic shape from the ground to reach a total height of 27.5 m, and the structure represents the company's commitment to embarking on building projects with a low environmental impact.
The building has obtained the quality mark issued by Design For All Italia, which endorses designs that meet accessible design quality requirements.
The removal of architectural, perceptual and cultural barriers has produced a structure that guarantees liveability and accessibility for all travellers choosing to stop at the service station.
The stack dome at Villoresi Est is undoubtedly the most iconic architectural feature, and gives the structure a natural, organic appearance. It also contributes to meeting requirements on sustainability and the reduction of energy consumption.
Depending on the season, the roof captures cold or solar energy. A section of the roof surface has a water supply coil system connected to a geothermal plant that reaches a depth of 25 metres, with a total of 420 probes installed. This solution enables the building to increase its energy efficiency considerably, reducing CO2 emissions by 59% and saving 45% on electricity consumption.
Structure and Materials
The dome was developed using digital surface modelling to produce the main sections for positioning the grid support beams. Each supporting element in the roof arrangement had to be developed individually, and was constructed in PEFC-certified laminated timber. The overall design of joints and beams, which is visible from the inside and creates significant aesthetic appeal, has enabled the space to retain a very natural, organic look, whilst implementation and installation costs have been contained. The outer roofing was originally supposed to have the iconic Autogrill red. However, during the preliminary phase approval was refused by the authorities because of the proximity to Malpensa Airport. The entire roof was therefore covered with TECU zinc, to still achieve the effect desired by the client. Metal copper alloy sheeting was chosen for its texture and dual functionality - during the day it looks opaque grey and produces no reflections that could interfere with airport traffic, whereas at night a loop of LED lights fitted to the dome frame is illuminated in the deep red colour typical of the Autogrill brand.
The Water Cycle
A water solution was also studied carefully in accordance with sustainability requirements. Autogrill accommodates a high number of travellers and this means water is consumed in various areas of the building.
Rainwater collected from the building's roof and groundwater drawn from a well supply a large tank used for toilet facilities and fire prevention systems, and provide water for plants, enabling savings to the order of 30% (25,550 cubic metres per year) compared with a traditional building. The water collection tank was also designed to supply an open geothermal system installed to provide the building with a backup system for the main geothermal plant.
Thanks to an integrated closed geothermal system that uses ground probes and coils fitted to the energy-harnessing roof, the consumption of water and energy has been reduced considerably. This makes it possible to use elements separately and have water circulate only where necessary to meet demand. The system can therefore employ various configurations to dissipate or capture heat, obtaining the desired conditions within the building.
The presence of the underground geothermal system is ideal for heat exchange especially in summer, due to the fact that all of the probes are under the building and can exploit the shadow cone created.
the system mainly intervenes to lower temperature in the indoor sales area, supplying the indoor air conditioning system and exchanging energy with the ground or the roof.
Safety Coordination during Design and Implementation
Management of General and Specialist Works (structures)
Integrated preliminary and detailed design
Project and Construction Management Support
Time and Cost Control