House 1014, designed by H arquitectes –winners of the first edition of the Big Mat International Prize– is a single-family home in the small town of Granollers, Spain. Located in a consolidated and compact urban fabric, the house works as a series of interlocked spaces revolving around the building’s courtyards. Ranging from darker, more private areas, to almost open-air living rooms, all the spaces within the house are designed to work as a whole, forming a complex system for climate control throughout the year, based on traditional passive technologies.
Surroundings, brief and conditions of place
The plot is located in the historical centre of Granollers, amidst a compact urban fabric of narrow streets and row houses. Measuring 53m long and only 6.5m wide, the available space is between party walls and accessible from either side. Local planning regulations require the construction to align with neighbour houses, so, matching the client’s requests, the scheme of the house would forcefully be made up of two different parts. To the east of the plot, coinciding with the main street and the remaining façade of the original building, will be the homely areas of the house. To the west of the plot, additional rooms for guests, storage and a garage, with its own vehicle access through the back street. Divided by the void left in the centre of the lot, the two areas are able to exist and work independently, communicated only by the central garden.
Because of the narrow urban fabric and the east-west orientation of the house it was difficult to achieve a good solar gain through the street façades. Taking advantage of this fact, the architects decided to organize the different areas of the house through a series of patios that would work not only as transitional spaces within the building, but also as a passive climate control system. These “bioclimatic courtyards” connect opposite ends of the house through a set of interconnected spaces of purely served space, achieving a great variety of spatial and environmental conditions.
Structure, construction and environmental issues
The structural choice was to build the house on a load-bearing wall system that would limit the dimensions of the rooms and the openings in the walls, achieving a house that works as a long corridor that trespasses a sequence of different areas. These walls, built perpendicularly to the two party walls, are made up of a double layer of bricks with a 10 cm wood-based thermal insulation. According to the condition of the loads on each wall, the brick masonry changes -when on the ground floor, walls are built with double-layered solid bricks, while on the top floors consist of a lighter, simple partition wall of perforated brick. The materials and configuration of these brick walls allow the architects to ensure thermal stability thanks to inertia. The variety of surface finishes and textures of the ceramic materials used throughout the house create different rhythms and sensations.
Apart from the addition of courtyards, the architects’ design for climate control include moveable, exterior solar protection -both in windows and over the patios, allowing for ventilation in summer months and solar heating in wintertime. Rooms are heated through radiant floor systems, connected to geothermal energy through passive energy exchange through the ground.
News source via Europaconcorsi.
Drawings by H arquitectes.
Photography by Adrià Goula.
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