The project is situated in a coastal town. The building consists of two residential units and is designed as a prototype of low-impact, off-grid living.
The mix of interior and exterior spaces and the landscape that permeates the domestic boundaries evoke a treehouse feel. Energy-savings are achieved through a mix of passive strategies and advanced technologies.
The building is situated in a residential neighborhood close to the sea where the most popular building typology is the two-, tree- or four-family villa surrounded by a narrow garden planted with trees and local vegetation.
The project site is a 20 by 14 meters rectangle facing the street on one side, and the still vacant lots on the other.
The conceptual idea is to spread the traditional compact internal space in order to let the landscape come in and merge with it, redefining the relationship between the inner and outer spaces. The result is a sequence or a composition of rooms and gardens, terraces and trees, some of them on the ground, some underground and others above the ground. Vegetation is the catalyst of the project and an essential element of the architecture. The building itself is a structure for plants to grow on, like a naked body dressed in flora.
The mixed structure consists of two concrete longitudinal walls carrying transversal steel beams. Service areas and the staircase are placed between the walls, while rooms and terraces are suspended from the beams. Underground spaces are interjected by a courtyard that allows the light to enter and hosts a tree which grows throughout the full height of the building.
This simple, almost diagrammatic, but bold structural scheme allows for different layouts and flexible spatial organization. Thanks to this adaptability, the project can be thought of as a prototype that could be replicated in different configurations.
The mix of suspended and detached spaces forms the basis of the energy-saving strategy. It facilitates natural ventilation by letting the breeze flow throughout the building, it defines shaded areas and allows vegetation to grow between the volumes, filtering the incoming sunlight.
Rainwater can be harvested from the entire plot surface and used for irrigation.
The horizontal roof surface hosts solar and photovoltaic panels that provide hot water and electricity for the building.