We were asked to design a house that would incorporate the concepts of bioclimatic architecture in a rural context in Carregal do Sal, Portugal. This house should therefore take advantage of the climatic conditions in which it operates in order to minimize energy consumption and reduce the impact on the environment. environment. This was the job of architects. Take advantage of nature in all your senses.
Outside, we designed a house that resembles a body that extends over a small clearing surrounded by trees. A body that levitates on the ground. Its windows are open and allow you to enjoy the landscape and the light in comfort. The house has three entry points that lead to exterior paths over the meadow. Porches for the kitchen, living room and bedrooms allow you to enjoy the surrounding nature. The trees were already there and the house embraces them and adapts to them. With this project, the architecture becomes natural and nature starts to incorporate the design.
Just as all poetry has syntax and lexicon, so does architecture. The two are one. Now, this work demonstrates this. A bioclimatic house needs a perfect synthesis between architecture and engineering. When we design a window we design a heating system, a lamp and a painting at the same time. In this way, when we go around a tree, we save a species but we also find shade and the consequent cooling. Everything is interdependent in a bioclimatic house.
The architecture of the house scrupulously followed the principles of bioclimatic design, innovating even with new design solutions for future works:
First of all, it should be noted that the installation of the house safeguards the most important existing trees. At the same time, earth movement in the outdoor garden is reduced to a minimum.
The house is based on a new thermal mass independent of the existing land, guaranteeing the conservation of energy for a longer time and reducing thermal amplitudes.
The 8cm 10cm and 12 cm thick cork was the material chosen to thermally insulate the entire perimeter of the house.
The zinc cover allows above all to collect rainwater in perfect condition. This means that it can be putable or reusable. Thus, in the case of irrigation or cleaning, the water is stored in a reservoir.
The spans cover the entire height of the floor, that is, they go from floor to ceiling. This allows to create pressure differences that favor the renewal of air perfectly without the use of electrical equipment.
The interior has a single floor with a minimum height, reducing the volume per area and the consequent need for lighting and air conditioning.
We are in the presence of a passive solar building. Basically, this house can operate autonomously without energy consumption for air conditioning:
The cut-out exterior geometry makes it possible to increase shading exponentially, a process known from biology that here applies to architecture in a totally innovative way.
The color of the house is purposely green. Green is the reflection of this wavelength and the absorption of the rest. It is precisely in the summer that the light is most reflected and in the winter it is most absorbed. Here, too, aquitites mimicked the behavior of plants.
The most open spans are facing south and properly protected by porches. The porches guarantee entry of solar radiation in winter and prevent it in summer.
The fact that the spans start at the height of the floor and end at the ceiling allows passive cooling through an ascending air column that expels the hot air accumulated near the ceiling in the summer.
The reduction in construction costs is synonymous with the reduction of environmental costs. The optimization of the house is always ecological in the exact extent that resources are saved. The plan is thus simple and efficient. An entrance to the east gives access to the car garage. A north door allows access to visits to the public spaces of the house. A service ramp gives access to the kitchen and laundry porch. Some of the strategies used included:
– The cabinets are placed next to the facade in order to increase the external insulation.
– Reduction of walls to the minimum necessary. Solutions are privileged in open space (“open space”).
– Only the garage, laundry, bedrooms and bathrooms have doors. All other spaces are fluid and interconnected: living and dining room, kitchen, corridor and entrance hall.
– All corridor spaces are used to place cabinets on the facade.
For architects, designing a bioclimatic house is the opportunity to resume a long historical tradition that has only recently been interrupted. In reality, the History of Architecture is full of examples in which the building acts in accordance with the climate, optimizing the available resources and consuming the least amount of energy. However, the recent transformation of construction processes coupled with low energy prices has allowed for wrong solutions and absurd energy expenditures. It is therefore urgent to resume the tradition of efficiency. To this end, it is necessary to reconcile the current demands for comfort with contemporary construction processes and the best environmental practices.
December 4, 2020