Studio: Vallribera Arquitectes
Project: 54COD New construction of a detached house in Matadepera
Location: Matadepera, Barcelona
Phase: Finished construction
Gross floor area: 288 m²
Design date: 2012-2013
Construction date: 2014-2015
Architects: Llorenç Vallribera (Vallribera Arquitectes)
Quantity surveying; Jordi Nogués
Collaborators: Aleix Gil, architect; Marc Calvo, architecture student; Marc Batlle, structural consulting
Total primary energy consumption: 47.0 KWh / m² per year
Total CO2 emissions: 9.5 Kg CO2/m² per year
EPC rating: A
Photographs: © José Hevia
The task is to build the first house in a residential complex that will consist of three single-family homes: one house for each sibling’s family. The requirements include preserving the site’s charm, respecting the pre-existing conditions and complying with the different urban planning regulations.
The regulations and the family’s needs make it necessary to design a compact building that takes full advantage of the maximum floor area ratio. The ground floor will house the kitchen, dining room and living room, plus the parents’ bedroom and a study. As they couple grows older, they will have access to the minimum necessary functional program on a single level.
The first floor is for the children’s rooms, connected to a study. In the basement, there is a three-car garage and a playroom-multipurpose room. It can be used for playing ping-pong, setting up a slot-car track, or holding a birthday party. It can also be used as a guest room in the future. The staircase, in the center of the space, lets in light, provides ventilation and establishes communications between the most public sections of the house.
The pergola-terrace offers privacy from the existing neighboring house, regulates shade and offers the optimum sun exposure. Its most important function, however, is to make it possible for the free-standing house to become a row house once the adjoining house is built, without sacrificing any of its features.
The urbanization and the outward appearance of the house is low key. A rectangular volume with openings situated where they are most needed. The existing plot is left largely unmodified: the ramp to access the garage is made as short as possible and a slope is dug to provide natural light to the multipurpose room in the basement. We suggest planting greenery to colonize the house.
Shrubs on the slopes and climbing vines to cover the façades, the pergola and the fences. The building’s character comes only from the pedestrian entrance – indicated by a porch – and the terrace-pergola, with a double façade formed by movable shutters, emphasizing the main idea behind the design: dividing the open space on each plot into two yards, the shared garden and the private yard, which can be accessed from the interior of each house (via the pergola, living room and dining room).
The construction system uses a concrete structure formed by retaining walls, pillars and in situ slabs that are intended to be left exposed. The insulation and the envelope surround the structure, avoiding thermal bridges. The interior is defined using plasterboard partitions. The roofs are landscaped.
To ensure the house is energy efficient, it is well insulated and the openings vary in size according to the orientation. The slabs and exposed concrete flooring provide inertia to the dwelling. In winter, underfloor heating will be available.
Optimum use of the shutters by the inhabitants to regulate sunlight, and the use of cross-ventilation reinforced by the “chimney effect” of the stairwell, will help to keep energy demands well within the limits of the calculations following CTE regulations (Energy Rating A).