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Village M was created at a workshop organised by the Order of architects in Turin and by the OAT foundation with the technical sponsorship of the Gandelli House Company.

The aim to immediately provide homes in response to natural catastrophic event was one of the salient aspects of the problem. Work was carried out in synergy with the municipal administration of Turin and with the civil defence, with the intention of organising and guiding the citizen initially during and after a probable catastrophic event. The latter was based in detail on the prediction of a scenario which saw a partial or total break of the Moncenisio dam, potentially involving urban areas including the city of Turin. The choice to face an emergency was first and foremost political.  As a precautionary measure, local government should decide on the choice of areas in which to house the citizens, on how to act in extreme situations and identify the types of temporary housing.  In the specific case of Turin, the choice of the area to construct the Village M fell within a vast zone known as Colonnetti. As a result of the size of the entire area predicted by the civil defence, three urban configurations were suggested for 1000, 5000 and 8000 inhabitants, using the town planning standards envisaged in an emergency of 20 m2 (as opposed to 25 m2 under normal circumstances). After checking the optimal configuration to maintain a high living standard of spaces for 5000 inhabitants, an urban system was planned consisting of the homes and services required, such as car parks and access roads for emergency vehicles. Power and methane gas connections were also envisaged and placed directly within the different plots.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                


Village M was designed as a horizontal, urban complex consisting of traditional, Mediterranean, patio houses and a series of empty spaces, such as piazzas, paths, cycleways, public parks and water basins. The latter were not only aesthetically important. They also collected rain water and convert it using a water purification system to supply domestic water or an irrigation system for the green areas in the village. The internal courtyard of each housing module M1-2-3, a typical architectural feature in the historic, Italian tradition, not only transformed into an important bio-climatic tool, but also took on the role of green space within the house.

A system of double, sliding (horizontally and vertically) glass walls and sunshade panels provides a space conceived as a winter garden, capable of distributing the warmth of the sun inside the space during cold spells, whereas a system of sunshades (covering the wall) guarantees optimum natural ventilation during hot spells.


The M1-2-3 Module is a flexible modular system, which can be adapted to various shapes, sizes and colours. The system to group the various residential modules is left to the user’s choice and can satisfy a spatial requirement beginning with a size of 25 m2 for one or two people, up to a size suitable for a family of 6/8 people.

The urban layout is not only adaptable, but also has a flexible and structural function. The structure consists of 60 cm-wide, self-supporting, lamellar wood panels (xlam method), which enable the structure to be partially self-built.  The internal surface of the house is also flexible. The central part contains the hallways and utility rooms, whereas the remaining space overlooks the patio. The basic module measures 3.8x3.8m. However, it is possible to go up to a size of 1,000m2 by adding more modules, which can be used as public structures, or polyfunctional and institutional spaces in general.

The house is completely self-sufficient from an energy and plant engineering point of view. By arranging a series of systems, such as an inflatable tank to collect rain water with a minimum capacity of 2,000 litres, a system of heated carpets which can be adapted to various sizes and a photovoltaic solar kit to produce electricity at 220V, the Module M can also be placed in areas not served by the mains electricity, water and heating grid without any regret for the performance quality of a traditional plant engineering system. A relaxation area can be planned, if need be, which overlooks directly on to the patio, consisting of a hydro massage pool and a gym and sports equipment corner.

Year: 2013

Project: Anna Rita Emili

Engineer: Barbara Pellegrino

Collaborators: Gabriele Coccia, Ilaria Zelli

Photos: Emanuele Piccardo

Contractor: Gandelli Legnami (Torino), Palladio Spa (Treviso), Sicher srl (Roma)

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