6th Year Individual, Genoa : The Bitter Orange Distillery

Citrus was brought to Genoa during the crusades. It was cultivated  in Genoa for its medicinal qualities and given to sailors to combat scurvy. Citrus was exported from the historic Port; Christopher Columbus introduced the citrus to America in the 15th century. Citrus was brought to Genoa during the crusades. It was cultivated  in Genoa for its medicinal qualities and given to sailors to combat scurvy. Citrus was exported from the historic Port; Christopher Columbus introduced the citrus to America in the 15th century.

Citrus is a versatile plant, its flowers, leaves and peel are used widely in the perfume industry, while floral blossom water, the peel and flesh can also be used in cookery. Typically, Italian regions are characterised by their specific citrus and this is a principle economy, the labour creating new jobs, exports earning the region money and attracting tourism.

Landscape Plan4
Site Plan. Site is located toward the bottom of the masterplan. The site slopes downwards towards the river and is bordered by the historic town wall.

Following the industrial decline of Genoa, the city’s primary economy has declined. In recent years there has been an attempt to rebrand and to attract new tourism. The heart of the riveria, Genoa is the central point of the Lingurian coastline. The strategy has been focused on destination and cultural branding as Genova European Capital of Culture in 2004 and promotion the Rolli Palaces and the UNESCO World Heritage City Centre.

As part of rebranding the city,  along with the new masterplan, this project aims to revitalise the lost tradition of citrus cultivation in Genoa. The following proposing a specialist orange grove distillery including a citrus garden, an essential oil distillery, orangery kitchen, bespoke guest accommodation and a dedicated spa.

Elevation Wide ScaleGE1B

Reducing the footprint of the building allows the landscape to be to be the primary focus of the horizontal, with the building creating the horizontal. It is a respectful more to the presence of the historic wall on the site, to not obstruct the wall from view. The elevation below is a study of the proposal in context. A tower is able to take advantage of the unique position of the site and create a landmark, a recognisable destination to mark the beginning of the Bisagno Valley. Building upwards exaggerates the verticality of the site allowing panoramic views across the city from the historic port and historic centre to the mountains and the ocean. The building becomes a modern city gateway creating a landmark to the beginning of the Bisagno Valley.

1-200 Section

The plan is split into three. The middle section is where, on each floor, the main programme is held. This is the largest space and is orientated parallel to the river Bisagno. The two sections either side of the circulation cores are either terraces, that are orientated towards specific views, or ancillary spaces. The guest accommodation is pointed towards the view of the River Bisagno and the south east to get morning sun. The offices are orientated towards the north west to prohibit direct sunlight.

Genoa has a tradition of using pattern on their façades. Known as ‘trompe l’oeil’ meaning ‘trick of the eye’ the Genoese paint decoration onto their buildings. This has been happening since the Renaissance  and was used to adorn the buildings with decoration without the added cost. Over the centuries Genoese buildings have been decorated. Different techniques, such as lime washing, or materials, such as tiles are used throughout the city.

Roof Top Pool - Picture # 4
Roof Top Pool
Internal Pool - Picture # 3
Internal Pool
Accommodation2 - Picture # 1
Guest Accommodation
ENTRANCE - Picture # 1
Distillery - Picture # 2

The Genoese aristocracy used arches in their palaces to span larger distances that creates a fluid relationship between internal and external spaces. Modern technology no longer requires an arch formation to span larger distances. Vaulting the ceiling also uses a lot of unnecessary material.

In the Venice Biennial 2016, BRG (Block Research Group) exhibited their work into compression structures. They have experimented with creating ribbed vaults that only use the required material by 3D printing the formwork. The ribbed vault creates the illusion of a traditional vault however it works using modern technology. The pattern and column structure is reminiscent of tree trunks that reach out and support the floor above.

The design and dimensions for the structural grid must work to enable the variety of different uses to work within it. First functionally but additionally continuing to reference the Genoese architecture, and in particular the proportions of the arches and palaces. By studying the geometry of the buildings that surround the courtyard for the city (adjacent to the site) the arch has a diameter of 4m. A 4m grid sets out the primary structural grid.

Each vault a framed structure with dimensions 4x6m. This frame is cast insitu with specialist 3D printed formwork to create the ribbed vault and the ribbed columns. The columns are 500x500mm except for the terraces which, due to their height, are 600x600mm. The shear walls of the two cores provide bracing from torsional and  lateral loads. The facade is made from precast panels which can be craned into place.

Exploded Iso - Picture # 1
Exploded Axo of facade and ceiling build up.

Facade study using different materials and perforations to create solar shading with different levels of user control. With varying programme within the building, each space demands differing degrees of manual control. For example, guest accommodation requires the inhabitant to have control of environmental elements.

Other spaces such as the spa are predetermined and the environmental factors are predominantly mechanical. The percentage opening of the copper shutters changes with the height and orientation of the building, becoming denser on the souther facade. The outstand that expressed the floor level on the facade also creates an overhang to shade the spaces within. It is predominately beneficial for the accommodation rooms which have a lower ceiling height.

The environmental strategy works holistically to utilise the energy used for the distillery process to aid the heating of the spa. The water strategy for the project is 2-fold. Firstly, on a wider scale, the initial move to reduce the floorplate and ensure a larger area for the orange grove is in accordance with the masterplan strategy for reducing hard impermeable surfaces to allow for natural absorption of rainwater. The second is the natural spring water source which will be utilised to serve the building. A borehole with a ground source heat pump will serve the building. Drainage pipes from the roof will take the water down through the building to either expel into the river Bisagno or to irrigate the grove.





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