The land is situated in Cerdanya’s area, in an old settlement where rehabilitation began 15 years ago. Currently it consists of 5 houses. The plot is surrounded by a privileged natural environment with astonishing views of valley and the mountain range of the Cadí natural park.
The project is constrained by strict construction regulations that govern the region and that gear the project towards the use of ‘traditional Cerdanya’ exterior materials. The ‘ceretan’ home seeks integration with its context and amongst the surrounding existing constructions by means of using materials and basic elements of the local construction. Therefore, any construction should use locally sourced stone for the walls and artisanal clay tiles for the sloping roofs. It should incorporate as well the ‘era’ or garden, the porches and the access through the ‘ceretan’ gate. The challenge was set: to build a home that will marry harmoniously very traditional elements, with a contemporary and cozy atmosphere.
As a start, we decided to build the home with a wooden structure, facing the project from a bioclimatic strategy, to achieve an efficient and sustainable construction. Thanks to this system we managed to reduce the construction waste materials.
Hence the project included 3 different materials: the stone and the clay tiles as stated in the regulations and the timber as structural material. This set us up to try and resolve all the design elements with these 3 materials. Later, we added iron to the material triad in order to resolve some joints and encounters and to design luminaires adding cohesiveness and singularity to the details of the interior.
A steep slope of the 20% characterizes the site, running down from the street level. We intended to set out the whole house in one story and in level with the ‘era’ in order to enjoy it as much as possible. Therefore, we proposed to make only the garage and the access hall at street level and the rest of the house sits 2.6mts below that level. This decision entailed to bury part of the house fitting it into the topography.
The plot has a quasi squared shape oriented towards the south-east. This feature allows us to easily create an L-shaped plan with two perpendicular wings. Those rest on the plot’s boundaries and create the day area with the main rooms and the night area with the bedrooms.
The stone wall slightly protrudes above the roofs and highlights the simple shapes guided by the plot’s shape. The wall draws a series of slopes and counter slopes providing the house with a singular geometry.
The roofs of both wings converge towards the ‘era’ creating continuous porch that surrounds the house and generates a wide lounge area in one of its ends.
Connecting both the night and the day wings is a two-story volume, the only one whose slope is oriented towards the exterior, creating in such a way an access porch.
The exterior elevation is continuous and made in stone in its totality except from two instances where the wall sets back: at the bedroom’s area and at the porch. When these gestures take place, the walls appear cladded in wood as to show the relevance of the wood as main construction material that emerges once the stone is eliminated. The same happens in the access volume at street level, where the setback is cladded in wood in contrast to the stone volume.
In the traditional rural architecture of the region, the houses where enclosed towards the exterior in a gesture of protection, their occupants didn’t need to see the areas where they had been working all day. This project imitates those gestures closing itself towards the street and the immediate neighbour on the north face. Nevertheless, it aims on the contrary to open up to the ‘era’, the garden and the views. In this manner any of the interior and exterior areas can enjoy the natural landscape that surround the house.
The primitive as well as traditional act of gathering around the fire, as moment of family togetherness, was central concept to the design. The wide, open space of the ‘day area’ goes on to generate smaller semi-enclosed corners through the use of the furniture, enfolding the spaces to create cozy atmospheres typical of the mountains. The couch that frames the fireplace, the bench, the table, the kitchen isle, set out the rhythm of the diverse spaces within a visually continuous space.