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Casa 22 Avellaners

Santes Creus is the capital of the municipality of Aiguamúrcia, known as one of the jewels of 12th century Cistercian art in Catalonia. The location of this house is part of the expansion of the urban area that was developed in Santes Creus at the end of the 20th century and the beginning of the 21st in order to obtain two public pieces for equipment and parking for visitors to the monastery. Observation and analysis of the two neighbouring houses built in this area showed that the house located to the south makes optimal use of the property and the permitted building volume, on the other hand the house located to the north is built on two plots and has a shape and volume more typical of an isolated single-family house. In response to this analysis,  places a staggered volume that blends in with the different heights of the neighbouring buildings. It thus connects this volume with the landscape through openings to the east and west views. Thirdly, the house creates an empty and complete volumetric relationship between the different rooms within the house, through three large cavities. This creates internal relationships, both spatial and visual, that make the different spaces that make up the project feel more spacious.

The house articulates its vertical circulation structure through the staircase, which is the main protagonist inside. The ground floor contains the entrance to the house and a linear connection at a visual and access level with the rear garden. On this floor we find a first band configured by the garage, a room and a bathroom; and a second band that consists of a space that integrates the kitchen, living room and dining room and also connects with the second and third floors through the double and triple spaces, which visually and functionally connect the living area with the study and play area on the first floor and with the multi-purpose room on the second floor. Two bedrooms, a terrace and a bathroom on the first floor and a terrace viewpoint on the second floor complete the programme. The volume was built in a mixed concrete and steel structure without changing the original topography. On the outside of the house, a materiality was chosen that results from the use of materials with traditional and local processing and application techniques, such as lime mortar, handmade ceramics, steel and wood. The unbuilt areas were paved as little as possible in the areas near the house; otherwise they were used for green spaces or the cultivation of gardens.

Inside the house, exposed concrete was left mostly on the ceilings and internal stairs, which contrasts the thick consistency of this material with the lightness of the steel used for the transverse pillars on the ground floor and the railings. In addition to concrete and steel, various traditional wood and ceramic elements such as flooring, wall coverings and furniture have been laid out with the aim of creating bright, simple, practical, comfortable and warm interiors that generate emotions for their users. In designing this house, energy efficiency was a premise. This was achieved through passive solar architecture solutions and the detection of indirect light which, together with the construction system itself and an exhaustive study of the composition of the different skins of the building and its thermal behaviour, resulted in this house obtaining an A energy certification.

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Project: Casa 22 Avellaners
Architect: Guillem Carrera
Year: 2020
Photo: Adrià Goula