Through blurring the usual concepts of inside and outside, the MMMMMS House provides a straight relationship with the surrounding landscape while offering intimate inner spaces. The project plays with the area building regulations to avoid what they are looking for: to force new buildings to look like fake traditional rural houses.
The project starts by determining the most intimate spaces from the program, which are placed inside a bigger volume, like a high storage, which provides connections and cuts through. As it sits in the landscape, the shed modifies its height and relationship to the inner “boxes”, offering itself as an outer space, where inner windows face a central “street” that runs all through the house. At the west end, sightseeing the village of Camallera and the Pyrenees, the shed gets dissolved into a large canopy that will be covered by plants, shades and parasols as soon as life goes on.
The village building regulations are very simple but strict, referring just to concepts such as that all new buildings have to be stone cladded, or that the roof has to be sloped and built with “arab” tiles. Actually, what the building regulations are seeking is to have small rural houses, as if they were traditional catalan “masies”.
The aim of the project was not to think of the “masia” as an isolated building, but as one that makes sense when it is related to a surface of agricultural land. The traditional Catalan house has no sense without its agricultural meaning, and neither when there are 20 similar houses in just 10 hectares.
The circulation space inside the house is understood as an exterior space, and the boxes inside, as the places for being “in intimacy”. The clear height of the common spaces, and its straight relationship with the outside, make you feel as if you were all the time in an open space, enjoying the landscape and nature around.
Sustainable aspects of the work:
The MMMMMS House has been designed to be a low consuming building. For the hot seasons we have planned a system for crossed ventilation via small openings in the façades and north-oriented skylights which allow very comfortable temperatures without any need for air conditioning. For the winter, the house has increased its wall thickness and insulation, and the heating is provided by a high performance wood-chips heater which is connected to solar panels. These panels bring hot water as well for normal consumption. The rainwater is collected under a buried water tank which provides “grey” water for the garden and toilets. All the materials for the MMMMMS House construction have been provided from local industries nearby.
Architects: Anna & Eugeni Bach
Collaborators: Carina Silva, Sara Matías, Albert Cabrer, arquitectos; Eulàlia Cudolà, aparejadora; Masala consultors, estructuras.
Site size: 4.390 m2
Surface: 300 m2
Address: Camallera, Gerona, Cataluña, España.
Constructor: Calam-Tapias Construccions
Companies involved: Lampistería Illa (instalaciones), Carrera Fusters (carpintería de madera), Magem Pintors (pintura), Consmevi, S.L. Construccions metàl.liques (estructura metálica), Fusteria Alumini Llavina (carpintería aluminio), J.Riera Grup Gamma (revestimientos).
Photographs: Eugeni Bach