Project infoTags: unifamiliar
A housing unit where functionality, energy saving, and design blend together in a single project.
The building plot: The site is located in Mas Alba, a residential area near Sant Pere de Ribes with good access from Sitges. It is a 400 square meters rectangular plot enjoying all the urban services. Its topography is virtually flat and enjoys direct access from the street, as well as a good insolation and orientation.
The conditions: The brief is simple—a couple with 2 children. There are two aspects of vital importance—hence deserving special consideration—when it comes to designing this housing unit: a close relationship between indoor and outdoor areas must be developed, and the dinning-room and kitchen area must be detached from the living room. The latter must be located in a separated room. Our clients imagine spaces featuring porches in both floors in order for the transition to the outer parts of the house to be easy. In fact, these would be a mere extension of the inner ones. Large bedrooms featuring private bathrooms on the first floor, and a guest bedroom and a garage on the ground floor complete the functional brief.
The project: Because of the orientation of the plot, the plan is to divide it in two separated areas—the northern zone and the southern zone. The building itself will act as a barrier between them both. The southern zone is where the housing unit will be built and the porches, the garden, and the swimming pool will be located, and the northern zone will provide access to both pedestrians and vehicles. Therefore, the ground floor will be in close relationship with its immediate surroundings, whereas the first floor will be connected to the outer parts of the house through a pergola providing access to those terraces which, in turn, will be connected to the gardened roof in several areas of the ground floor. The living area is located perpendicularly above the main volume, thus organising the outdoor garden in a swimming pool area and an urban orchard-garden area. The geometry of the construction itself favours cross ventilation. Its openings look minimized in the northern façade and open audaciously in the southern one.
The construction: The construction revolves around a main objective—to achieve the lowest possible energy consumption in the whole housing unit. The whole roof is a green roof, thus providing both a relevant insulation and a great thermal inertia to the house. All gaps on the ground floor are protected by means of porches or pergolas. Said elements end up playing an important formal role in the final design of the housing unit. In addition, the openings in the northern façade are minimized in order to fulfil their function of illuminating the spaces for airing, thus providing cross ventilation that will allow climate control of the house during the summer season.
Energy efficiency: Green roof in the whole housing unit. It provides us thermal inertia for a housing unit intended as a primary residence. The solar gain provided by the big openings in the southern façade allows the passive heating of the house in winter, whereas the dimensioning of the porches and the pergola protects us from overheating in summer. The north-south rectangular geometry of the construction allows the development of the functional brief in such a way that all rooms in the housing unit open towards the southern façade. In addition, it allows their cross ventilation by means of small openings in the northern façade. The solar panels placed in the roof allow the climate control of the swimming pool while avoiding the need for more systems to provide the housing unit with domestic hot water.