Flavio Galvagni


Lab Zero was founded by Flavio Galvagni. With a degree and architecture diploma with full marks at IUAV 
(University of Architecture of Venice) and studies in architecture at The Bartlett ( UCL , London), where as a student he 
designed and created flats and working spaces for friends. Therefore after a period working as project architect for local 
practices on a number of stimulating public projects, in the 2002 he officially set up his own practice: Lab Zero. 

In the beginning he was quite young and serious clients were lacking. His main focus had been placed on competitions and research issues, most of which related to radical living scenarios and prefab building solutions, developing each project clearly, efficiently and innovatively. Central concern of the practice is excellence, functionality, beauty, quality and sustainability achieved through research and development applied from project inception through construction phases.

The Minimum Mobile Module is designed to provide a first aid, self-efficient sturdy shelter for disaster situations and temporary accommodation and is conceived as a fully equipped dwelling engineered around a standard ISO 20' shipping container. Being a modified container lets the unit to be shipped overseas, easily transported on roads by common flatbed trucks, air delivered by sky crane helicopter to reach any destination, be them on the top of a skyscraper or in a rural settlement or within a bombed city.

The unit has lateral added doors which support two sliding monocoque rooms, three technical modules fully equipped with a wc, a shower, kitchen devices and a heating/cooling system. Two big foldable solar panels provide the needed electricity for total autonomy acting as rain collectors as well. A “skin” of wooden planks, plastic material or any other else and a metal stair to the obtained deck roof can be added for sun shading, customizing and extending the living spaces, therefore adapting the unit to different living standards and cultures. The proposal doubles the container floor area up to 34 square meters when fully open and can be easily activated by two people in few hours, being suitable to accommodate up to four persons.

SID - Site Independent Dwelling

SID is a low-cost building system that uses ISO standard 20` shipping containers as main structural elements. In the SID system the containers (all of its parts are either containers or can be fitted inside containers) act as a sturdy structural core within which all the service functions; kitchen, bathrooms, staircases, storage etc. find a place. Each module is outfitted with all the fixtures and furniture for the functions required, and supports a number of extra cantilevered spaces to fulfill larger programs. These larger cantilevered rooms, such as dining rooms, living rooms, family or study rooms, etc. have three of the four walls exposed to the outside, ensuring excellent illumination and air circulation levels, view out and program variability. The system is skinned with an insulating layer that can change its thickness, composition and outer aspect according to the client's requirements, construction methods, local authority regulations, economical and social needs, environment, orientation and privacy. This "global skin" sets the distinction between outside and inside and comes in a variety of different materials and palettes of finish, fitted with all the doors, windows, sun shading systems, solar collectors and water retaining systems necessary to provide high living standards and configuration options to the system as a whole. By combining the advantages of modularity and prefabrication with the creativity of custom-designed architecture,

SID avoids the limitation of standardization bringing the final result to unexpected quality levels within the prefab realm: the house can be managed as a mass-produced item, to be marketed and transported basically anywhere a container can go. On-site work is minimized to the installation of a concrete pylons system and prefabricated modules are simply cast into place by a crane. And once the containers are in place they provide the "backbones" for the rest of the building; the extra rooms and the skin can then be freely adjoined so that SID does not restrict the homeowner to a limited series of conventional floor plans. The ultimate layout {even multi-story is allowed} is limited only by imagination, budget and the restrictions of local building departments. And this flexibility is not only in its initial arrangement, but in the ability to change that arrangement over time: this clean strategy offers much flexibility for people to customize components to make the system suit their specific needs. The result is a modular constructed, cost-effective, demountable, sustainable and architecturally sophisticated contemporary home.

SID is a real steel based system. The all-welded-steel ISO standard 20` shipping container is the result of years of development and refinement, designed to withstand the most brutal handling on the docks, high seas and all the abuse the shipping industry can produce on it, yet be light enough not to add extra weight to the cargo load. Even containers retired from service by the shipping industry are still much stronger than the building codes require buildings to be. Environmental responsibility is not just about solar energy and water control system. It's about making things that will last and can be re-used, making new things out of old things instead of just throwing them away. And when things are made, it's about making them efficiently, with a minimum of resources. In this sense SID is an environmentally sensitive response to the global need for affordable and quality houses: it too can come with solar, geothermal, wind generating equipments or grey water system, reducing the long term cost of ownership and widening the range of potential building sites, but it produces interesting material usage and greatly reduces wastage making a commitment to environmental responsibility in its bones and extended lifetime too.