The project involves the design of a private home for a family of four. The program includes three bedrooms and an independent kitchen, with immediate visual contact to a playroom which may be refurbished into a fourth bedroom in the future; uses are complete with storage, mechanical room, two sheltered parking spaces, and an integrated, large backyard. The architecture optimizes functionality, adapts to the terrain morphology and to the microclimate, and follows the fundamental principles of bioclimatic design.
Volumetric Arrangements and Optimal Orientation
The ground morphology and the local climate were the main factors in the volumetric arrangement. Due to strong northern and western winds, the respective facades remain solid and become protective barriers. On the upside, large openings at the living spaces are oriented towards the south and east, securing natural lighting and thermal gains during the winter time.
The 2m inclination of the property accommodates auxiliary uses on the lower level, creating a covered area which is integrated in the composition.
The ground level spaces are demarcated by thick walls, clad in the local stone, forming a sturdy socle which supports the clear geometry of the upper floor volume. The elongated eastern wall extends 3m to create a wind shield and secure privacy for the covered porches and the main backyard. The walls integrate built-in furniture, kitchen cabinetry, storage, or concealed mechanical equipment.
Passive Solar Design
The upper level volume is contained within a “breathing” white shell comprising a system of folding aluminum frames which provide adequate shading during the summer months and allow passive heating at winter. Its white color highlights the pure geometry, concurrently reducing solar absorption without hindering natural ventilation and lighting when the frames are shut.
On the western side, accommodating the living and dining areas, a zone of clerestory windows, combined with the east opening, facilitate natural cooling through cross-ventilation. The northern side of the upper level corridor is dotted with restrained openings opposite the doors of the children bedrooms, achieving the same effect; so does the north opening at the master bedroom and the south-facing door. To provide natural shade to the ground level, cantilevers protect the glazing when the sun rises above 57 degrees, from March to October.
An important gesture is the opening at the floor of the playroom, which is replaced with a safety net. This way, the playroom communicates with the kitchen and adds a playful note to the everyday creative endeavors of the family.