01. The three-migration landscape
Cercedilla’s territory, a municipality 60 kilometres from Madrid in the Guadarrama mountains, has been shaped by the three country–city migrations of the last decades.
The first, from country to city, took place over the 60s, 70s, and 80s with the extensive abandonment of the countryside, leading to old family houses being turned into holiday homes. The second, from the city to the country, was driven by 1990s’ planning legislation in Spain [Leyes del Suelo, 1995 and 1998], which liberalized territorial management and thus facilitated speculation, re-zoning, and a scattered urbanization of the landscape. We are now witnessing the third, a migration in permanent transit.
Over the last decade a new kind of inhabitant has emerged, simultaneously rural and urbanite: a population that returns to the countryside without actually leaving the city. These citizens in transit generate new rural realities and partnerships that continue transforming the landscape: Ana and Manolo’s field at The Young Old House is pasture for a local farmer’s cows. Luis’s livestock tends to this area of the mountains in exchange for fresh grass. The coexistence of traditional rural communities and new ‘rur-urban’ inhabitants makes it possible to build new ecologies, crucial in order to care for and maintain the balance of a changing territory.
02. The house that grows in layers
When they inherited the house, Ana and Manolo —and their four daughters— decide to build an expansion so as to adapt it to their condition of semi-urban, semi-rural inhabitants. The home, built in the 70s as a summer house, had no insulation of any kind, nor did it establish any kind of direct relationship with the landscape or surroundings. With this in mind, the design consists in a threefold strategy that allows to progressively extend, relate, and thermally insulate the house, tending to both comfort and energy consumption, as well as the enjoyment of its rural character.
During the first phase, already executed, a three-volume extension is built within the roof perimeter, with a ceramic cladding distinguishing the new elements: an extended living area, a bedroom for the four daughters (where the garage and woodshed were), and a boiler room. The stone walls are cut and substituted with a pitched metal beam and tie rod, allowing the whole living area to open up towards the landscape. The roof is changed and, in the process, the materials are recovered and transformed into the interior furnishings.
Starting next summer and year after year, Sahari —previously a builder and is now a family employee— will take down the stone and wood from each front, adding the necessary insulation to the existing wall, and building them up again with the previously recovered materials but following a different pattern. The house will grow in layers, insulated in this way over successive stages.
03. The objects they were and what they are
In The Young Old House nothing is where it was originally. The furniture is made from the materials recovered from the old front and the roof. The ceiling is now on the table —four old cut-up beams are the dining tables—, the main front is a continuous bench —made of recovered sleepers—, the new doors are a reassembly of the red wooden window shutters, the slate from the old roof awaits in the barn to be used as future cladding for the fronts, the granite from the woodshed is the new outdoor step to the field… Placed on top of this family of old materials with second lives is another new layer of materials, mainly in metal, that brings the house closer to the landscape: a hidden door straight out to the field, rotating outdoor lamps to light evening meals outside during the summer months, four movable beds, and two porthole windows to see, from the north, right through to the southern landscape.
The Young Old House makes visible the relationships between objects, inhabitants, and landscapes; between the old, the current, and the new; those that make it possible to rethink contemporary models of inhabiting a ‘rur-urban’ territory.
Architects: Lys Villalba & Enrique Espinosa
Technical Consultants: VIAN Estudio (Jorge López)
Collaborator: Maria Paola Marciano
Structural Engineers: Mecanismo
Material Used :
1. Exterior walls: extruded green ceramic tiles, Cumella
2. Lighting: lamps designed by the architects
3. Furniture: desks designed by the architects
4. Windows: Cortizo