An Energy Efficient House Built for Two

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The design of the House LLP by Alventosa Morell Arquitectes can be succinctly described as making the best of an odd situation. Built near Barcelona, Spain, its design was driven by the request of the clients (two sisters) to have a bioclimatic home where they could live together yet independently. To accomplish this prompt, in plan the architects simply mirrored the spaces of the home, treating it more like a row house sans a party wall. This desire of the clients for two bedrooms, two bathrooms, two kitchens, two living rooms, etc. may seem a bit excessive (they couldn’t just share a kitchen?), but as good architects must do, they listened to the needs of their clients.

The whole home sits on two concrete retaining walls, and is constructed in a lightweight wood frame method.

And as great architects must do, they found a way to offset this doppelganging through a savvy use of passive design strategies. The whole home sits on two concrete retaining walls, and is constructed in a lightweight wood frame method. The south-facing façade is fully glazed to allow sunlight to deeply pierce into the space, but also utilizes a shading system to prevent overheating in the summer. Except for a sunlight that brings southern light down into the very back of the home, the roof of the building is almost completely covered in greenery, which provides thermal resistance to the home (as a roof is often the area most exposed to solar radiation). Thanks also to a natural ventilation system, the need for heating and cooling was almost entirely nonexistent, with the heating need satisfied through the inclusion of two fireplaces (one for each sister). The interior of each unit is adorned in a simple modern aesthetic, letting the wood of the construction breath in the space. The exterior is cladded with wood planks, allowing the building to better bland into it’s wonderful natural surroundings. By putting their efforts more into the environmental considerations of the building, the team was able to overcome the challenges of the project and create a simple, elegant example of sustainable architecture, in duplicate. Photography © Adrià Goula

Nathaniel Barlam

Nathaniel

Amid the unrest of earning his Bachelor’s degree in Architecture from RISD, Nathaniel manages to find the time to read, write, hang out with friends, play drums, and listen to music. Nathaniel has learned a lot about architecture firsthand thanks to opportunities to live and work in Rome and Brooklyn during the past year. Coming from a family with strong roots in the Lower East Side of Manhattan, Nathaniel has always maintained a strong love for NYC especially, and after his studies finish up in Providence he may move there for a while. He hasn't decided yet. You can connect with him via Linkedin or by visiting his Portfolio page.

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