[Image: North Facade]
Located in Santa Cristina dâ€™Aro, Girona [Spain], House 108 – or House Hind – was completed for Steven Hind & Beatriz Escolano by H Arquitectes in 2005. Recipient of 1rst Prize AJACâ€™07 [Catalonian Young Architects Association], the project stands out from the surrounding architecture, while working with the local environment and terrain [which is one of the main reasons it 'stands out']. Located on a strongly slopped site with dense Mediterranean vegetation, the project is surrounded by homes of “low architectural interest” and “large impact on the landscape”.
[Image: South Facade]
H Arquitectes first priority was addressing this issue of environmental and landscape impact – so they worked to limit changes to the site and surrounding vegetation.
We tried to modify as little as possible the environment by building the house on a slope, and thus reducing the land movements, foundation and generation of waste products. We also have maintained the vegetation in order to not lose the current shaded and cool ambiance as well as a sensible design of the exterior elements â€“ wooden stairs following the natural slope and a minimal perimeter fence.
The solution was to work with the slope of the site, stepping the house with the terrain and therefore eliminating the need for extensive regrading of the site [see section below].
[Image: Section + Plan]
This sectional stepping also serves to add an additional level of separation to the otherwise very open interior – with short runs of stairs connecting the stepping concrete floors [which, additionally, serve as a thermal mass]. Adapting the section to work with the site means that each of these spaces connects to the landscape outside through the use of large openings that are cut [basically] down to grade.
[Image: Interior - looking toward kitchen/dining]
In addition to connecting to the natural surroundings, these openings also provide natural light and cross ventilation to all the interior spaces, as well as allowing for natural ventilation through the higher [in site elevation] southern facade – which is also naturally shaded in the summer by deciduous climbing plants. As we all know, warm air rises – and in the case of this project, that means moving to the southern [highest] end of the house – drawing fresh, cool air through the interiors.
[Image: Interior - looking toward living / exterior patio]
The home’s facade itself [detail below] is a ventilated ‘double pane’ system, with interior bearing walls. This improves insulation, and provides a cavity within which those large windows can slide. These openings have 3 layers of closure: adjustable shutters, insect screens, and insulated glass – creating an interior space that can adapt to daily/seasonal weather changes.
[Image: sliding wall panels detail]
View more of H Arquitectes’ work [and more images of House 108] at their website – and be sure to head back to AMNP next week for the following installment of NotM: H Arquitectes, featuring their project entitled House 205.
::the projects featured in this post were selected and images provided by H Arquitectes – along with any quoted text::
::photo credit – Starp Estudi::