Prefab wooden house, Pedrezuela
Prefab wooden house
PEDREZUELA (ES) - Elii shaped this low-budget, modular and very adaptable dream house solution according to the wishes of their client.
Isabel, a veterinarian who works day after day among horses, decided that she wanted to live in the countryside, to move away from the city and to have a house in accordance with her lifestyle, one that would allow her more direct contact with nature. She had several ideas in mind for this house, though a number were wishes she could not easily connect – images of houses she had seen either in magazines or on television, measured against desires for an Alpine-style house, a modular wooden home or a self-sufficient concept house, amongst others. One day her path crossed with Elii, a Madrid-based firm comprising Uriel, Eva and Carlos, which has gained previous recognition through publicized projects like the 'Urban Tree', an artificial tree promoting public fitness and which simultaneously generates energy, or 'Insider', the transformation of a little apartment in Zaragoza that can be constantly reorganized according to the changing needs of its users. Isabel decided that Elii was the perfect choice to 'architecturalize' her wishes and give shape to her house. The result was the 'House of Would'.
The house stands on a sloping plot of land approximately 1200 square metres in size in the community of Pedrezuela, a twenty-minute drive from Madrid. The plot has some vegetation on the side closest to the access road, and a garden crammed full of plants on the opposite side, creating an enjoyable backdrop for views from the inside the house. According to the client’s dream house requirements, Elii decided to create a modular, prefab wooden house. This resulted in a very useful strategic decision to build the house in barely six months, which lent the project extra value by significantly reducing the construction budget. The seven modules of the House of Would are arranged somewhat like a Möbius strip, each adapting to the uneven land beneath, while creating a private, shaded central yard in which residents can relax or cultivate a garden. The client thought the house could work as an assembly line where, for instance, she could arrive directly by car in the garage, take off her dirty work shoes, and then access her bedroom to enjoy a soothing bath after a stressful day. The upward-spiralling floor design fitted that wish perfectly. Another curious petition from the client was to permit her dogs to traverse the entire plot with total freedom. To accommodate this, Elii slightly elevated the house to allow the dogs passage from outside to the inner courtyard.
Another interesting element is the roof, which undulates with the surrounding land, creating an artificial topography that can even be used as a private solarium hidden from neighbours' views. The sloping roof sections are also arranged to collect and divert rain, watering the garden in the central courtyard. By joining the seven separate modules, different spaces are created within the home, allowing for public and private interaction. The wooden modules are linked with internal corridors that bridge the differences in site elevation. The modules are joined together by a slatted wooden envelope, which creates natural ventilation and air flow to the interior while also unifying the separate segments. The design of the facade is based on a trapezoidal model – its symmetrical, singular form incredibly simplified construction and thus shortened the time needed for assembly. The plans show a continuous geometrical game between elevations and roofs, combining both the various elements and functions. But the use of a modular system has a second reading, which the architects explain as follows: 'The modular organization and the scale of the spaces mean that the functional logic can be modified if necessary, acting as the basis for any future changes.' The versatile home is poised for future change, expansion and adaptability.
It is obvious to many that the current, critical economic situation, mainly prevalent in southern European countries, has drastically damaged the architectural panorama, not only in the quantity of built productions but also in building techniques. Prefabrication is an easy and profitable choice for construction at the moment, and wood seems to be an affordable and sustainable material. The House of Would therefore joins other Spanish examples of how both wood and prefab are excellent solutions for small-scale projects, such as the EX House by Jacobo García Germán (see A10 #48), A House for Three Sisters by Blancafort-Reús Arquitectura, or even the Endesa pavilion by IAAC (see Section in this issue).
March | 2013 | Spain | Gonzalo Herrero Delicado & Maria José Marcos