Category Archives: arquitectura para habitar

Neiman house, recycled ceramics. Granada

project report

The project consists of the refurbishment of a small popular dwelling in the Albaycin neighborhood of Granada. The house,  in its L shape, is distributed on three floors that revolve around a staircase. Ascending through it, you reach a terrace-viewpoint of Granada; the most important place in the house.

The intervention, in addition to addressing the problems of dampness in the soil and walls, lack of insulation and obsolescence of the facilities aims to adapt the spaces to a very special family. Jim and Theresa are experts in ceramics and sustainability. This house becomes a laboratory of his own work throughout the world. Inspired by the cycles of nature, wheee organic waste is converted into compost, the Neiman work by converting industrial waste from ceramics into raw material to produce pieces of great beauty. Jim imagines and creates new uses for ceramic industrial waste as a recycling engineer at the Kohler Company WasteLAB in Wisconsin. The engineer cratsman processes clay materials to produce a powder, which is pressed dry and baked, creating tiles that have a porcelain body with a high-gloss vitreous surface. The glaze of these comes from enamel powder recovered from the application of spray paint. To produce the green and blue tones ADD a small amount of virgin pigment. In its finish, the material presents a decorative CRUNCH on the surface that develops during the cooking process through a difference in the cooling speeds of the body of the tile and enamel. The crunch is a living finish and continues to develop over time.

In this way, he creates handmade pieces one by one of glazed tile and these are part of several unique elements of the house and enrich them: the staircase, communication axis of the house; the kitchen and the bathroom. Each piece is placed strategically unfolding the richness of the nuances of its blue glazes at sight of the eyes of those who ascend or enjoy them during daily use of the spaces.

Finally, the interior finishes that accompany the handcrafted pieces are very simple in coherence with the nature of the house itself: lime mortar, wood, polished concrete, Grespania ceramic material.

refurbishment of the big house of Zujaira. Granada

project report

It is a country house of the early twentieth century of traditional construction with large load-bearing walls and wooden floors, and covered with wood and tile. The house is conditioned by keeping practically its current status with some modification to improve the bathrooms, the kitchen and the roof (elimination of humidity, insulation of  windows, repairs on the roof …).

8 experimental apartments in Realejo. Granada

project report

This work is situated at the end of a small street that finishes in stairs, like many others on the west slope of the Mauror hill. In the upper part is limited with Bermejas towers and Carmen Blanco, and in the lower part with the square Campo de Principe. The whole complex shaped is the neighborhood of Jewish origin, called Realejo, one of the oldest in the city of Granada. The neighborhood is characterized by strongly accented topography, with up to 14 meters of denivelation inside the blocks, which allows the houses of the neighborhood to cling to the Vega de Granada and the Sierra Nevada.

As a result of an experimental project, eight apartments are built for a neighbors’ cooperative around a garden, whose wisteria and virgin vine unite with the adjoining gardens, climbing the adobe and brick wall that separates them. The pavement is perforated with small holes in regular pattern, so that the rainwater goes back to the ground. In some points, the holes change the size to allow planting smaller trees or plants. Because of the slope of the hillside, the garden is at a lower level than the pedestrian access, so the houses on the ground floor have views of the Sierra Nevada or the city’s domes.

These eight apartments are all different, tailored to the needs of the cooperatives. For the construction, it has been used an innovative system of structural element of double wall, ELESDOPA, recently patented by a professor engineer of the University of Granada. With this concrete system, the vertical and horizontal walls are both structure and enclosure, with the thermal insulation in the interior, which allows to eliminate the finishing works. That means a substantial reduction of the costs of execution of the work.

The walls, floors and ceilings are all in exposed concrete. By designing following principles of bioclimatization, energy costs are also reduced and the building is of almost zero energy, because of the great continuous insulation and adequate orientations. The system has also made it possible to eliminate the pillars and give full continuity between the garden and the parking area under the building, which is facilitating for not very experienced drivers. For the same reason, the box of the stairs has been rounded.

The exterior of the building conforms to the requirements and regulations of the historic center of Granada. It is manifested through a continuous white wall without other adornment than the windows, all the same, following the typology of the neighborhood, with no other pretension than to integrate in the place. Inside the garden on the south-east and south-west facades, the windows alternate with other larger glazed openings.

rental housing in Gojar. Granada

project report

A rental housing building in a village south of Granada, where Vega River begins to flow surrounded by the foothills of the Sierra Nevada Mountains.

Trapezoidal plot is located in a crossroad and has a buildable area of over 100 m2. The southwest side of the plot is adjacent, while other sides are streets: Carretera de Gojar on southeast, Avenida Carmen Morcillo on the northwest and Alhambra Street on the northeast.

The building is constructed occupying the entire plot, after the additional part was given from the City Council, consolidating the corner of the block. It has three floors above the ground and a basement that serves the local store on the ground floor. On the upper floors are located flats, each with two bedrooms and kitchen. Access to the building is from Avenida Carmen Morcillo. Staircase and elevator are placed attached to the wall shared with neighboors, creating the core with the installations, and leaving the rest of the floor free. From the upper floors can be enjoyed  magnificent views of the valley and Sierra Nevada.

This work has been designed and built with economical and rational criteria. Economical not only in the construction, but also for maintenance of the bulding in a sustainable way.

The main issue is the insulation, in order to minimize energy losses and to optimize the use of natural light. Constructional airbricks are coated with insulation plasterboard on the inside part, and with ceramic coating on the outside, to create a better insulation. All building facades, like a cover of the book, are coated with a stoneware  double-burned in 1220 degrees and enameled in white sierra nevada colour. Entire building has been modulated for these 40×80 stoneware pieces, which are anchored to the facade by hidden staples.

The research in new materials is realized through the use of an enamel which is characteristic for it’s ability to capture CO2. Composition of calcium hydroxide Ca (OH) 2 created through optimization and reorganization of the carbide lime waste generated in the process of obtaining acetylene gas. The primary particle size, due to obtaining this alternative route is presented below 100nm (nanomaterial) enabling a high reactivity towards CO2. Ca (OH) 2 + H2O + CO2 CaCO3. According to this equation: 0.59 tonnes of CO2 per tonne of Ca (OH) 2. Moisture conditions are optimal to favor Gójar setting process.

This stoneware shines in the sun like snow in the Sierra Nevada, coating all the building’s walls and roof with 40×80 pieces

house enTera. Soria

project report

Place, program and construction determined the form of this house designed in close collaboration with the client.

The strategy of this home consists of generating a container, a straightforward rectangular concrete volume with a sloped roof that contains the different living spaces. The interior is presided over by a fireplace, the hearth, and the main spaces open towards the outside through water, reflecting light. Through the large southern opening, separated by a long, narrow swimming pool, four century-old oak trees stand out against the Sorian sky. A porch runs through the entire volume, leading to a space that functions as a garage and entry. Then, a large space contains the living room, dining room and kitchen areas with a fireplace, all with a double-height ceiling. The ground floor is completed by the main bedroom, bathrooms and a dressing room-gallery. The upper floor has the library and two bedrooms-bathrooms.

Investigation of living spaces. Inhabiting natural surroundings, with no more pretentions than household comfort, precise use of light and water. Allowing the sun to enter and warm up the room in the morning during the cold but sunny Sorian winters. Allowing the water from the pool, that becomes an ice mirror in the winter and a lane for swimming in the summer, to reflect the light of its movement on the indoor ceiling.

Architecture with no greater pretention than building in an efficient, coherent and straightforward manner. Taking advantage of the concrete shell to obtain a twenty-meter light opening in the southern façade, and allowing that same concrete to age until it acquires the same color as the surrounding boulders. Optimizing the home’s conditions and responding to them in a sensible way. Twenty centimeters of thermal insulation to fight the cold. A paila fireplace in the center of the house heats the air and the water in a coil wound around it, for storage in a thermal tank. A space between outdoors and indoors for arriving and leaving the car. A sloped roof for draining off the snow. The smallest possible number of openings. Nothing else. The oak trees in the garden were already there, and they showed us where to build.

studio in Belén Street. Granada

project report

Building a place for oneself is an opportunity with its own risks and difficulties. I chose a place in one of Granada’s earliest areas, the neighborhood of Realejo near Campo del Príncipe, on a site favored by views of the west side of the Alhambra, presided over by the Manuel de Falla Auditorium and the country house and garden of the Martyrs. Further back, behind the cedars, chestnuts, magnolias and palm trees in the gardens of the little hotels in Belén, stands the Sierra Nevada mountain range. This lot would have been rejected by many because its tiny size precludes a conventional distribution. Only 3.60 meters deep and ten meters wide, this work is an exercise in minimums, a laboratory of light and construction intended for living.

The program is as exceptional as this tiny lot on Belén Street. It is adapted to stack work areas and a living space for a single person without renouncing quality and spatial wealth. And it does so with very straightforward means, such as the manipulation of natural light, varying heights indoors to compensate for the narrowness of the rooms, and of course, an absolute minimum of compartmentalization. Thus, the stairs and service areas are at the ends, leaving the central spaces free.

Precision calls for solving problems by minimizing them, that is, with the smallest possible outlay to meet technical and functional requirements. These considerations underlie the project, which is conceived as a section of the wall that historically separated the city from outlying farmland. And that is how the project was approached: a wall pierced with narrow, regular openings and a single opening on the upper part. Like a traditional Granada house, it is closed to the street, open to the sky and garden.

Casabella nº809. Milán 2012
Hinge vol 201. May 2012
Office hour. China 2011
Wallpaper, dec 2011
Top space & art III. Artpower, 2012
Márgenes Arquitectura nº2. Granada 2011
V Premio de Arquitectura Ascensores Enor. Vigo 2011
Guía de estudios de arquitectura 2011/2012 Promateriales. Madrid 2011

8 social houses in Cuevas del Becerro. Málaga

project report

Cuevas del Becerro is a hamlet in Guadalteba County. It is situated on a very narrow limestone spur that runs between the road and the stream that bears its name in a valley of great natural beauty. The mountains and hills around it are like fortresses that protect it from the passage of time. The building site is located in an area of urban growth southeast of the historical neighborhood. It comprises two parts, belonging to two contiguous blocks that share one side with another block leading to the road.

The proposal is adapted to the geometry of the plots and despite their different dimensions, we have tried to offer a unifying solution to the group of houses. The smallest plot has three houses that occupy almost its entire area, exept for some laundry patios beside the partition wall. The design for the larger plot consists of two rows of houses around a central patio. One row is at the head of the block, with three houses with double orientation and a central staircase. The other runs alongside the partition wall with two houses that follow the same logic as the first type.

The construction is straightforward although the foundations were conditioned by expansive clay and a high water table. The finishing of buildings correspond to the one of the place: white walls and vertical openings which can be darkened with shutters.

Volúmenes nº42. Granada 2009
‘Elisa Valero 1998-2008’. Valencia 2009

single-family house in Pedro Verde. Las Gabias. Granada

project report

Building a shadow.

The project is structured in horizontal layers, a system of plains that define a new line of land, the platform belonging to a classical temple that Martienssen defines as the first condition for Western architecture.

Over this line of land we built the shadow line, and between the two, an open place for contemplating,  for looking into the distance. Inside this place, the scale expands in a double height protected by an enormous lintel.

The silhouette is drawn by the volume of the bedrooms hung from a system of metal trusses and split to allow southern light and views. Beneath the line of land, a basement includes the swimming pool, the garage and a den open to the garden.

Volúmenes nº42. Granada 2009
‘Elisa Valero 1998-2008’. Valencia 2009