Family houses

Ullastret, Girona. Spain

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House 1413


FAD Awards finalist 2018  Architecture
Description Technical file

The Jury’s appraisal: The house adapts to its environment, between the medieval centre of a town in the Empordà and a perimeter of kitchen gardens surrounded by stone walls, and organises its entire programme along the boundaries of the plot. The result is comprised of a single-storey delicate stone and lime wall, almost blind to the street outside, and an open and patterned façade that borders the plot’s interior garden along two of its edges while preserving its air of agricultural kitchen garden. The house is faithful to its status as a second residence, assembling itself into discontinuous spaces that incorporate the exterior in a self-assured manner that also intelligently resolves the unevenness of the plot.

The stone wall that bordered the property surrounded the whole plot and only allowed a glimpse of the treetops inside it. The materiality and irregularity of its geometries gave it character and a special presence. But the current byelaws demanded that part of the land be relinquished to widen the street and this made it impossible to keep the existing wall.

Without the wall, the first and principal challenge of the project was to put the plot in context again, build a new house capable of providing a consistent, respectful and honest response to the setting. Instead of standing in the centre of the garden, it surrounds it. A house that operates as a fence.

A wall house that recovers the urban continuity and experiments with a new, highly elongated typology, all of it on the ground floor, adapted to the topography and the new geometry of the street.

The house follows the material and constructional logic of the original wall but adapts them to current requirements. All the walls are load-bearing, reusing stones from the old wall and mixing them with aggregate from the site, together with inputs of lime and cement. Added to this traditional mortar base are small insulating particles made from recycled blown glass. Instead of being stacked, the wall is shuttered and rises according to a mixed technique halfway between a mud wall and a cyclopean wall. The external layers giving on to the street are hammered down to the stone, while the internal faces are left in the finish of the formwork wall.

The wall varies its thickness along the plot and in many cases becomes so thick that it can accommodate the more static spaces of the home, or those that require more privacy, such as beds, bathrooms, laundry room, pantry, cupboards, cloakrooms, etc. In an almost fractal relationship, all the scales of the project are addressed, associating and linking up increasingly large spaces until the entire plot is embraced. There is a sequence between the more domestic spaces and the more exterior, wilder ones.

The longitudinal relations are given priority over the more static programme, which is attached to the wall to create a lengthy sequence of galleries to make the most of solar gain during the winter period. In good weather, the galleries can be fully opened to become a wide porch open to the garden. A transition between the building’s different climates that is constantly evolving throughout the year.

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Localización Location: Barcelona. Spain. Arquitectos Architects: HARQUITECTES | David Lorente, Josep Ricart, Xavier Ros, Roger Tudó. Arquitecto Técnico Quantity surveyor: Joan March i Raurell, Enrique Rego. Colaboradores Collaborators: Montse Fornés, Maya Torres. Superficie construida Built area: 330m2. Fecha de finalización de la obra Completion date of the works: 2017. Fotografía Photography: Adrià Goula.
Ricart, Josep
Sabadell, Barcelona
Ros, Xavier
Sabadell, Barcelona
Tudó, Roger
Sabadell, Barcelona
H Arquitectes
Sabadell, Barcelona
David Lorente
Sabadell, Barcelona
Adrià Goula