private commission
< 250.000€
225 sqm (indoors) + 60 sqm (outdoors)
el prat de llobregat, spain

architecture: cayetano de la torre, valentina barberio
engineering: marés ingenieros
structure: diagonal estructuras

The house is located on a plot flanked by neighboring buildings, 10 meters of facade and 18 meters deep, in the center of Prat de Llobregat, with a practically north-south orientation. Initial requirements by the client were clear: with a very tight budget, the objective was to exhaust the buildability of the site by building the maximum possible square meters, instead of building less area and dedicating more money to finishings. Apart from this, from a functional point of view, the requirements imposed a very clear functional program of bedrooms on the first floor, and separate living room and kitchen on the ground floor.

From the first moment this resulted in simplifying and rationalizing all the construction processes to build the maximum available surface, proposing from the beginning a very basic interior finishes system, and façades executed with the SATE system (external thermal insulation system). The supporting structure was designed in reinforced concrete with bidirectional slabs.

Starting from these basic precepts, the house is developed by means of a few spatial strategies to generate exteriors and interiors that reveal a greater complexity and spatial attractiveness, denying the strict initial functional separation between both floors, proposing spaces with a greater interest that enrich the experience of the home.

From the entrance, facing south and located in a very narrow passage of just three meters wide, begins a long hall, of generous width, which leaves on both sides the garage and a guest room with a bathroom, forming together a first functional block in the access. This lobby gives access to a second functional block, oriented north through the interior courtyard, and in its middle part is led by a staircase made of exposed reinforced concrete that divides the living room area of the kitchen, and optimizes the circulation of ascent to the first floor. On both sides of the staircase large sliding doors communicate kitchen and living room, creating circular paths in the interior. At the same time, the living room is characterized by a piece of built-in furniture that gathers the fireplace.

The staircase becomes the protagonist when revealing the entire height of the house, and also provides an intermediate landing wide enough to become a multipurpose space, overlooking the living room and also the interior courtyard, introducing different points of light and perspectives to the interior.

On the first floor, the landing of the staircase is made to a large hall, topped at one end by a small interior courtyard that introduces a new point of light. Oriented south, three equal bedrooms for the children; oriented north, a large bedroom with bathroom en suite and dressing room, and a studio-room. Both rooms, separated by the stairwell and communicated by facing windows on it, are equipped with a longitudinal balcony towards the patio.

The exterior facades are a direct expression of the internal spatial strategy and the relationship with the surrounding context. Towards the entrance street, which is a very narrow pedestrian street, the facades close and reveal the distribution of bedrooms with their respective windows. On the contrary, towards the inner courtyard, facing north, and therefore freed from direct sunlight, the composition of the facade draws a cross that is the result of the configuration of the staircase, with opaque surfaces on the arms of the cross, and large glazed areas on the ground floor that connect the rooms with the patio, and on the landing of the staircase, central part of the cross. Within the simplicity and rationality of the structure, the pillars are not all aligned, moving away from the façade to the courtyard and giving the sensation of greater lightness, and allowing the walls of the courtyard to enter without interruption inside, diluting the boundaries indoors-outdoors. The result is of a great plasticity starting from the initial formal restraint.

All the interiors are finished with white paint, leaving the protagonism to the spatial configuration. Only the staircase, with its exposed reinforced concrete finish, introduces a material counterpoint. The patio is resolved with a paving of Macael marble slabs and walls finished in white.

The arrangement of the staircase to the whole height of the house, the rooms in both orientations, and the interior patio of the first floor, generate a system of natural cross ventilation in all the rooms. The heating is solved with radiant floor, to provide greater comfort in rooms of high-rise spaces.

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