Authors: Alessandro Bianchi and Gian Luca Brunetti
This paper reports about an architectural research project in which small and smart buildings are intended as the basic regenerative cells of smart cities, a hi-tech key element allowing them to evolve towards the model of a clever and connected infrastructural grid. This is the objective that has animated the activity of a team including the authors and formed in the framework of an advanced design course experience within the Alta Scuola Politecnica (ASP - High Polytechnic School, jointly organized by the Polytechnics of Milan and Turin) to define the virtual prototype of a small building: a sustainable, energy independent clinic conceived for bringing basic health care services into poor and overpopulated developing contexts, like slums around high-density cities. The idea underlying the whole research is that to speed the improvement of socially-disadvantaged micro-contexts, implants of mostly cheap energy and clean, cheap water, condensed in a few, small smart-tech “hubs”, can play a fundamental role in activating a virtuous interplay between economic competitiveness and environmental healthiness; and that this can in turn contribute to lower the barriers between city slums and their surroundings. A primary criterion defined for choosing the position of these small buildings in slums, tested through the specific case-study of New Delhi, is that of pursuing a low distance from all the strategic reference points in the considered area. This is because obtaining a high accessibility in terms of time and space is crucial in a crowded areas where people move by foot or bike and physical obstacles for cars are everywhere.
Keywords: Smart cities, smart buildings, sustainable architecture, energy, models and images of representation