Architects: Saizverdoux Arquitectos
Location: 17401 Arbúcies, Girona, Spain
Architects: Saizverdoux Arquitectos / Alejandro Saiz
Collaborators: RdL arquitectos, Tec-Quattre
Area: 220.0 sqm
Project Year: 2006
Photographs: Juan Carlos Quindós
From the architect. The Client wanted to renovate the floors, just above the family business, in to their private home with bedrooms, a studio, and a kitchen/dining room, which would become the heart of the new house. Located in the town centre, the plot is long and narrow with a 4m width between party walls, of which the existing building took up the whole surface. The family business, a butcher's shop, must be crossed to get the house, although the first proposal tried to resolve the access from one of the neighbours' buildings.
The gabled roof was the only element linking the main volume of the former dwelling with the spaces located on the rear façade, creating an area between them that is covered but not closed. This way, the original building could be seen from outside as a very compact volume despite having a very fragmented structure.
The project has attempted to take advantage of the great possibilities of the longitudinal section, articulating massifs and voids, keeping spaces and circulations and provoking new sight-lines that were formerly non-existent.
Physically, the renovation has kept the structural wooden frame in good condition, expecting the rear slope of the roof, unprotected out in the open. This has been entirely replaced and modified in its geometry in order to adapt it to the functional program and the new priorities, introducing the maximum light into the inner spaces of the house.
The original slab system with wooden beams has been kept with new elements added to distinguished the house from the others in existence. Added elements include: a metallic structure painted in black for the staircase and the footbridge, a solution that, besides becoming visibly different, has helped to tighten wooden slabs themselves and to the peripheral walls.
For the new part of the roof, new elements include: pine tree beams, cut in rectangular section, and prefab slab pieces including thermic insulation and drywall finish downwards ready to be painted to model the new longitudinal section. An important effort has been made make use of the existing materials, such as the roman roof tiles, the ancient pieces of ceramic flooring (now arranged as a carpet on the dining-room), and even the ceramic supporting pieces of the removed roof slab now used as the terrace paving.
By retiring the partitions of the first floor and the new roof section, the house now has a main central element, a continuous space that gathers all daytime functions. This living-room, kitchen and dining-room, which, situated at the ancient courtyard, grows vertical in a three-storey height to the skylight.
At the second floor there are two bedrooms that face outside on each façade. The main bedroom on the rear side pushes its volume over the dining-room, making it necessary to access by crossing a footbridge. From this footbridge, or even from the bedroom, there are oblique sightlines both of the first floor and the lower side of the roof with its new wooden beams. At the third floor there is an open studio, a third bathroom and the exit to the terrace. The terrace is defined as the opposite of the courtyard volume and oriented to sunlight, which permits sightseeing further than the nearest buildings. An attic was also built to put up the butcher’s installations, which, until now, were located on the first floor.