The unique characteristics of this row house come from a very narrow plot (3.8 meters wide) and a very long backyard. The clients, a couple with two children, need the standard program for a family of four. Within the volume of the existing building, we agree to put in three bedrooms of similar sizes and proportions. On the ground floor, looking over the street, the older son’s bedroom. On the second floor, two more bedrooms: one for the couple and the other for the younger son, each located along one of the façades. The center is occupied by two bathrooms: one on the second floor and another on the ground floor, also for guests. The volume of the building is expanded in order to place the kitchen-dining-living room adjacent to the patio garden, at the same level. A new loft space is added under the roof, which provides an extra multi-purpose room that can be used as a study or as a fourth bedroom. The original staircase is maintained. There is no need for a parking area.
The width of the house conditions the distribution to such an extent that the arrangement of the interior partitions seems to translate directly into the layout of the program. This simplicity is compensated by working with different ceiling heights and qualities. The bedrooms have smooth low ceilings, painted white. The public areas of the house (kitchen-dining room, staircase, study, and multi-purpose room) have high ceilings with exposed beams and vaults, also white. The areas of the extension (living room and second-floor bathroom) have two new wooden beams and plank ceilings that add a counterpoint of warmth to the house. On the second floor, this play of different heights reaches its fullest expression at the point where the spaces of the bathroom and stairway (2.2 m high) lead into the study, where the height of the original sloped roof reaches more than 4 meters. From here, a ladder leads up into the loft. The pavement takes a back seat to the ceilings: the space is tied together by using the same rustic ceramic tile throughout. The sun protection, and roll-up window shades, especially in the rear courtyard, aim to create the same effect as the pavement: they are traditional elements used in a contemporary way.
The building envelope is modified to provide the necessary thickness in façades, party walls, and roofs; the openings (window and door frames and sun protection) are designed to control heat gains and losses due to sunlight; stone elements are installed strategically to provide thermal inertia, and wood is used to improve hygrothermal performance; the best options are taken into account for heating, cooling and ventilation systems. Everything serves the goal of ensuring the house is comfortable and energy efficient.
Architects: Vallribera Arquitectes
Area : 142 m²
Year : 2018
Photographs :José Hevia
Lead Architects : Llorenç Vallribera, Aleix Gil
Collaborators : Sergi Ballester, Xavier Delgado, Jesús González
City : Terrassa
Country : Spain