Located in Vidrà, in the beautiful middle of the Bisaura, the Catalan Pre-Pyrenees, halfway between the regions of Osona, Ripollès and Garrotxa, two semi-detached houses are being planned.
Project Name: Wooden Houses in Vidrà
Studio Name: Taller SAU
The property, located on the Font street, has a challenging topography with more than 4 metres of north-south slope. The road, on the south façade, has a gradient of more than 20% and surrounds the house until it ends in an open space that is significantly flatter to the north, a very pleasant place to be in summer. On the other hand, the site enjoys a very good orientation, with all-day sunshine and privileged views over the landscape, the Bisaura mountains, the village and, above all, the church and its bell tower.
This project has been promoted by the Vivet de Vidrà woodwork company, the owner of the site. The main objectives of the project are, on one hand, to achieve low environmental impact and high energy efficiency; on the other, to provide a high quality project at a competitive cost and, finally, to propose an architecture fully integrated into the landscape.
In order to achieve this triple approach, it is considered:
In first place, to work with bare, neutral materials; with the intention of making the most of the features of each one reducing the environmental impact in the building process. Therefore, a large concrete plinth is proposed that resolves the differences in level of the site and, once executed, the entire project is developed with dry construction using a plywood structure, interior finishes of three-layer fir panels, wooden fibre insulation and a ventilated façade with a wood-cement composite panel. Furthermore, it is committed to minimise the number of openings and, those that are essential, are located strategically in order to achieve good solar radiation and avoid losses. In this way, the houses behave extremely well since there are almost no heat channel breakage, reducing to a minimum the energy consumption throughout their useful life.
Secondly, priority has been given to standardisation and BIM modelling. The entire organisation of the interior space follows the 1.25 modularity of the panels. This avoids material waste and reduces costs significantly. This means that almost no waste is generated on site. On the other hand, the floor plan is an exercise in programmatic efficiency. As little space as possible has been built while maintaining spatial quality. There are no useless circulation areas; the entire floor is organised around a wet core that groups together bathrooms, kitchen and all services (hot water, heating, electricity and data, drainage…). In this way we find a high-tech central space, which liberates the façades from technical commitments beyond insulation.
Finally, the design and material strategy is a consequence of the interpretation of the Bisaura landscape. Not only the timber, tiles and composite façade panels evoke the countryside and its appearance, but also the volume itself, the small vertical openings, the large openings on the south façade, almost like escapes, stand out. The volumetric impact of an almost abstract piece rooted in the landscape, like the large 19th-century farmhouses so characteristic of Vidrà, is highlighted.
In conclusion, this is a project that, beyond environmental requirements and execution costs, provides an effective solution to the basic needs of living: a small shelter that meets the emotional capacity of architecture.