The Agnelli Foundation in Italy has had its historic headquarters in Turin transformed into a digitally responsive building via an innovative indoor positioning system from Siemens. New technology adapts to the real time needs of occupants, who can communicate with the building systems via an easy-to-use smartphone app.
The Giovanni Agnelli Foundation was founded in 1966 to celebrate the centenary of the birth of the founder of Fiat, Senator Giovanni Agnelli and operates as an independent non-profit research and cultural institute active in the field of human and social sciences.
The Foundation’s completely redesigned headquarters opened in mid-June 2017; featuring 3,000 square metres of co-working space, it is an innovative example of digital and ecological architecture. The redesign demonstrates that the Internet of Things (IoT) can be successfully applied not only to new-build construction, but also to existing facilities.
The project implemented the concept of Carlo Ratti Associati architects for the landmark site of the Agnelli Foundation: creating optimal working conditions in the building in real time through geo-localisation of people moving inside the complex. This means more efficient management of the building systems as well as greater comfort for people in terms of heating, cooling, shading, lighting, access and space availability.
“Intelligent devices generate huge amounts of data every day, every hour and every second. With the right digital tools it is possible to leverage the data and interact with the environment as never before,” says Federico Golla, President and CEO of Siemens Italia.
Hundreds of sensors monitor multiple types of building data, including the location of the occupants. Sensors also constantly check temperatures, CO2 concentration, and availability of meeting rooms. A three-axis indoor positioning system based on smartphones and custom tags has been installed to detect and communicate the presence of personnel and automatically activate the appropriate response of the building’s facilities. When an occupant leaves a given space, the room returns naturally to ‘standby mode’ and saves energy.
Authorised building entry
The indoor positioning system is integrated with Desigo CC, Siemens’ management platform that monitors climate, lighting, access control, CCTV and alarms, and can be used to book meeting rooms. The system also enables occupants to use an app for authorised users to access the building, interact with co-workers and personalise preferred environmental settings.
The vision behind the project is that seamlessly integrating digital technologies within the physical space will forge better relationships between people and the building they inhabit, encouraging interaction and creativity.
The project embodies the vision of an architecture that senses and responds, potentially representing a breakthrough in the way that IoT technologies can be incorporated into the built environment.