Autogrill Villoresi Est

Villoresi Est is a service area on the A8 Milan-Varese motorway. The Autogrill gradually emerges in the shape of a volcano from the landscape up to a height of 27.5 meters, symbolizing the company’s commitment to low-impact environmental projects. The building has obtained the DfA-Quality quality mark from the Design For All Italia association, certifying its excellence in accessible design. The removal of architectural, perceptual, and cultural barriers ensures livability and accessibility for all those who stop at the facility.

The dome-shaped chimney is the most iconic architectural feature: it resembles a natural and organic organism and contributes to achieving sustainability targets and reducing energy consumption. It is a capturing cover that, depending on the seasons, collects solar energy or cold. A portion of the roof surface incorporates a system of water serpentine connected to a geothermal system with 420 probes at a depth of 25 meters, guaranteeing a -59% reduction in CO2 emissions and a -45% reduction in electrical consumption.

The development of the dome was recreated in a digital modeling environment for surfaces, from which the main sections were extracted on which to place the lattice of support beams. The organic nature of the roof required a different development for each load-bearing element, then made of certified PEFC laminated wood. The complex design of beams and joints, a distinctive feature visible from the inside, gives the space a very natural appearance, despite the relatively low construction and installation costs. The cover has been entirely clad in Tecu Zinn, a laminar metal alloy of copper that serves a dual function: during daylight, it appears matte gray, without reflections affecting air traffic due to the proximity of Malpensa Airport, while at night, a ring of LEDs installed on the terminal edge of the dome radiates the intense red of the Autogrill brand cover.

In terms of sustainability, the water theme has also been carefully developed. Autogrill hosts the frequent passage of many travelers, which generates significant water consumption. The building’s roof collects rainwater, and groundwater is drawn from a well to feed a large tank used for irrigation, toilets, and fire reserve, with savings of around 30% (25,550 cubic meters per year) compared to a traditional building. The water collection tank also feeds an open geothermal system as a backup to the main geothermal system.

The integrated closed geothermal system uses both underground probes and serpentine packaged in the capturing roof. This allows for the independent use of various elements and the circulation of water only where necessary. The system can use various configurations to dissipate or acquire heat, achieving the desired conditions in the building. The underground geothermal system favors heat exchange, especially in summer, because all the probes are under the building and exploit the shadow cone under the foundations. It mainly intervenes to lower the temperature in the sales space, powering the conditioning of the interiors and exchanging energy with the ground or with the cover.

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Autogrill Villoresi Est


Autogrill S.p.A
Total Tool
Francesco Ferrari
Attilio Marchetti Rossi (Wooden structures)
Geo Energia (plants)

2600 sqm

 Services Provided

  • Integrated architectural and structural design (preliminary, final, and executive)
  • • General and Structural Works Management
  • Safety coordination in Design and Execution
  • Support for Project and Construction Management
  • Time & Cost Control