COLOUR HOUSE I
The client is the owner of a building of a multi-family housing unit located in la Plaça Campreciós near the old town of St. Just dEsvern. It was a residential complex built in 1908 that had a ground floor with a flat and a comercial business, two upper floors with six flats and a sloped roof. The total is 800m2 of built surface. The existing residential program was limited with some spaces that werent well conditioned. They had no natural light and ventilation. The lack of maintenance and the passage of time caused serious structural and construcitve pathologies developing the inmediate necessity of an intervention to guarantee the stabilitys conditions.
The client had doubts about making an expensive and complex rehabilitation or making a new building with apparently more possibilities. We suggested making a rehabilitation to keep the volume and the existing matter and just looking for a new structural sense, constructive and cultural as if it was a new building work. This fact reduced the economic expense that was concerning the client. Otherwise, we didnt give up making a good work because we apparently had to face a rehabilitation with a few posibilities and the result was completely satisfactory.
The clients objective was and immediate rehabilitation to get an structural consolidation and an improvement of the housing conditions that would allow the fulfillment of the current rules to transform the building in a solid residential complex, habitable and functional for renting it to young people keeping the built volume with a budget estimate very limited. The strategy to solve the design was basic to give an answer to the existing detirmining factors.
We suggested an operation to empty out the building placing a new metal interior structure to liberate the bearing walls from its mechanic function. In this structure well lean on the new floor structure built with ribbed metal profiles creating a new independent structural order that allows understanding the building as a free container able to keep a new housing program to rent for young people. The bearing walls become walls without mechanic properties giving the possibility of modifying the overtures depending on the new necessities of the interior program. The wall becomes a picture where the openings had different dimensions, shapes and colours with the intention to convert a pictorical composition into an architectural one.
The constructive process was faster, cheaper and more efficient that the option of reinforce the existing structure. On the one hand, it wasnt necessary reforce the bearing walls foundation, because they got stronger when we eliminated the forces from the slabs. Otherwise, the fact that we used a ribbed metal profile to build the slabs saved the necessity of placing formworks accelerating the process and giving best final results. The structurals reinforcement work changed for an integral substitution of the structure, saving time using a constructive system that was closer to a new building work than to a slow and expensive rehabilitation. Finally we substituted the old sloping roof for a new flat floor passable making a communal space in the building to hang out clothes and sunbathe improving the neighbours relationship.
Replacing the old structure of the building and colocating a new interior metal structure, makes possible to replace functionally the bearing walls liberating the facade from the structures support. The building becomes a free container that has a new housing program. The solution suggests three different types in the same surrounding volume that had a relation in time cause they could be used continuously and for a life cycle; from youth, couples, family and elderly.
The first type suggested a piece that was 35m2 with a technical wall where there were the installations of the building. As for that matter, the bathrooms space, the kitchens space, the living-room, the bedroom, and the dressing-room are linears. There for, there are always 20m2 free to use in an independent way. The housing is thought as a solitary life. The second type sets out a 45m2 housing with a single central core where there is the bathroom that not only achieves its function but connects, organize and distinguish the space night and day. A housing for a couples life with the necessity of privatizing spaces. The third type presented a 60m2 housing with closed volumes, a night and day space, but at the same time connected to an installations core with balconies that had asymmetric colours. A flat for a life style family where there are different people with different needs.
Energy and materials.
The building had common installation systems, like solar panels and water tanks, in the new flat roof guaranteeing the 60% of hot water supply for the bathrooms and kitchens. The heating and the lightning are solved with electric radiators and low energy downlight systems respectively.
Refering to the waste materials, we choosed reusing materials from the rehabilitation and separating the rest that werent usable, guaranteeing the correct gestion of themselves. Moreover we reused the existing ceramic tiles from the old roof to make the new flat roof. Furthermore we used solid bricks from the new openings that were originally from the facade to develop the modifications in them and to build the ground floors facade. Using natural materials that were from the area such as the slate stone for covering the facade that was located in the ground floor and the perimetral frames of all the openings reducing the expense of transporting materials and the pollution that it involves. In addition to, the rest of the materials that we used such us the steel from the structure and facade, the ceramic from partitions, the thick gypsum plaster partitions from the false ceiling facilitates the obtaining, reusing, recovery and recycling of all the materials used in the work.
The job consisted in the rehabilitation of an existing building, with serious structural pathologies, with a limited estimate for materials and the necessity of working immediately to transform it into a solid residential complex and habitable to create renting for young people. We suggested emptying the building placing a new interior metal structure to create a new independent structural order that allows conceiving the building as a free container that is able to keep a new housing program with three different typologies.
The architects decision was to create a new strcutural order inside the building. This fact was an important time saving because we used a constructive system instead of a slow and expensive rehabilitation. This idea reduced the economic waste that was worrying the client when he had to face the project with these characteristics. As a consequence, preserving the building and renovating it permited the volumes permanence that was built with the idea that we didnt want to lose any existing flat, and it could happen if we had choosed the option of demolishing and making from the beggining the building. In addition to that, we didnt give up making a new good architectural work just for the fact that we had to face a rehabilitation that had apparently a few possibilities. On the contrary, the result was completely satisfactory.