Family houses

Sanlúcar de Barrameda. Cádiz

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Family house in the historic centre of Sanlúcar de Barrameda

Fernando Suárez, arquitecto

Description Technical file

Among the fundamental premises for the design of the house on the part of the developer are the internal spatiality, being able to view the rest from anywhere in the house via the interior diagonals on a double and triple height, a lightweight exposed metallic structure, sincerity with the design and a great deal of transparency between the courtyards through large glass panes. Among the conditioning factors of the urban development are maintaining the principal façade and the great height of the first-floor forging.
The house was planned to develop mainly over two storeys around a central inner courtyard over a triple height. Entrance to the dwelling takes place from a hallway, through the creation of an axis with the space over a triple height, which establishes a direct link with the courtyard at the back. This gives the house a great sense of space, as right from the entrance it is possible to view the entire interior space.
The single-flight staircase with transparent treads is shifted to the left, together with the distribution gallery. This space receives double light from a north/south direction through the attic. The house typology recalls the house that existed here previously in the way its centrelines are formed. There is a centreline parallel to the façade from which issue three perpendicular centrelines to contain in the central one the triple-height space in the manner of a courtyard. The first floor contains the bedrooms and a small winter sitting room. The master bedroom looks over the back courtyard via a terrace. A vertical wet hub is created behind the staircase. In the attic is a covered area as an extension of the roof.
Urban development justification. In the intervention on the house its primitive state was rejected as it featured a poor sequence of spaces right up to the staircase: the classic hallway --called casapuerta (door house) in the Cádiz area—from which the central courtyard of the dwelling was reached, with the rest of the rooms distributed around it. This typology, valid though currently obsolete as it makes it necessary to pass through some rooms to reach others, was rejected from the start, although the entrance space, the casapuerta, a semi-public or semi-private space, was retained as the place where the guest is invited into the home. From here, the entire space turns inwards and on itself. At this point, there is hardly any privacy.
The intervention can be viewed virtually as a new build except in that the ground-floor façade has been conserved. This is mainly owing to the fact that this house is listed in the General Plan for the Urban Development of Sanlúcar de Barrameda. Among the constraints found in the specifications of the Listing are maintaining the façade with all of its characteristic elements such as fittings, balconies and mouldings, the space of the first centreline and the height of the first-floor forging. In contrast, it does allow the construction to be heightened by a floor –originally the dwelling only had one floor. To build this extra floor on the existing construction, a coplanar body has been designed, slightly recessed in order to enhance the existing mouldings. The composition of the openings on the upper floor has created an order that matches those of the ground floor. They are vertical openings resting on the moulding to achieve an integrated composition without attempting to copy the existing one. The ground-floor plinth, together with the bolstering, the enclosures, entrance door and crowning moulding, have a great presence that must not be diminished by the top-floor addition. That is why the design seeks to build a lightweight body with panels in a greyish white colour, vertical openings arranged to match the lower ones and without a top crowning.
In order to break with the order, the break-up of the panels has been subtly shifted to the left, just as the same module as the window break-up is shifted to the right. The satin, slightly glossy texture of the panels, together with the lesser thickness of the enclosure in the flanning, plus the vertical break-up, are in contraposition to the horizontal bolstering and the forcefulness of a façade that must continue to maintain its hegemony on the ground floor.
On the ground floor the façade has been restored as exhaustively as possible. The mouldings and grilles have been repaired, all the frames have been replaced and a galvanised steel plinth has been added. Structurally the first-floor forging is embedded in the façade in order to brace it. It continues to rest on its old foundations, but re-shoed with the new foundation slab.
On the construction materials and elements. Part of the premises of the project were the interior spatiality and being able to view the rest from any part of the dwelling via the diagonals on a double and triple height. A base plane was therefore planned at continuous ground level that unified the entire floor. It is made from twisty Italian marble with a marked grain that extends without discontinuity of partitions throughout the ground floor, including the courtyard. Thanks to this, the entire ground floor becomes a living room in the summer. The first floor, as it stands on a lightweight metallic structure, creates an upper level where the real intimate life of the house is lived. The floor in this case is wood.
The entire structure of the dwelling is in exposed metal, laminated steel profiles, exposed collaborating forging lacquered in white. All the interior frames seek to be as dry-fitted as possible, and to this end plasterboards with self-supporting metal profiles have been installed.
On the external façade and in the terrace of the master bedroom, as well as on the internal façade of the triple height facing the staircase, cement wood panels in a greyish white have been installed on omega-profile fillets. The interior-exterior duality of the triple-height space or “false courtyard” is reinforced with the use of the cladding. This break-up of panels that is interior in the false courtyard becomes exterior by turning into an overhang to form the volume of the master bedroom terrace. The external frames are in anodised aluminium left in its natural colour. The intruder-protected windows have been fitted with security glass.
The climate of Sanlúcar de Barrameda is quite moderate. This dwelling functions well in function owing to the crossed ventilations planned for the triple-height space. This false courtyard, though covered, produces a chimney effect. A total heating system has been planned by means of gas oil radiators for the winter, as it is the most energy-efficient one.
Sunlight. The internal triple-height space in the false courtyard is flooded in light from the north via the attic and the back courtyard. This false courtyard faces north at the back, and so the great glass pane always receives natural light reflected on the south wall of the back yard. The “courtyard houses” of Andalusia must be built to face courtyards oriented to the north in order to protect themselves from the sunlight and to obtain as much luminosity as possible from indirect light from the south. The life inside the dwelling is thus very much governed by the hours of sunlight.

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Localización: Sanlúcar de Barrameda, Cádiz. Autor: Fernando Suárez Corchete. Aparejador: Victor Baztán. Construcción: Construcciones FERESUR. Fotografía: Fernando Alda.
Fernando Suárez Corchete
Fernando Alda Calvo