Dr. Wolfgang Feist defined Passivhaus as follows: “It is a method of designing buildings in such a way that they require so little energy that they do not need their own heating and cooling system. In this way, the remaining energy required can be supplied by the hygienic mechanical air renewal system”.
This building standard was officially formulated in Germany in the 1980s by Professor Wolfgang Feist of the German Institute for Building and Environment.
In Spain it is still not very widespread and we can already see that it is the immediate future of housing, even more evident after the COVID19 pandemic that has shown us the deficiencies of our real estate market, such as the energy crisis and the shortage of raw materials that we are experiencing.
“The house has a CLT structure, made of certified wood, which means it has no ecological footprint. It comes from certified forests whose extraction is necessary to clean up the forest, so it is sustainable. We are not manufacturing or polluting, we are doing good to the forest”. Clara Ulargui, architect.
The construction of this house was completed in early 2020, just before the pandemic. A premonitory author’s house, which demonstrates that architecture has a direct impact on people’s wellbeing, being able to minimise energy consumption to negligible amounts, despite the size of the building, according to its owners.
This type of building uses the resources of bioclimatic architecture combined with energy efficiency far superior to traditional construction. The aim is to obtain a very low energy consumption, and to enjoy a comfortable room temperature all year round without the use of conventional heating.
When we talk about bioclimatic architecture, we mean architecture that takes into account climatic conditions, taking advantage of available resources (sun, vegetation, rain and wind) to reduce environmental impacts, trying to reduce energy consumption. Bioclimatic architecture is closely linked to ecological construction, with structures and construction processes that are environmentally responsible. It is an architecture that thinks about the future and calculates the efficiency of the resources used over time throughout the life of the building.
In terms of well-being, this type of architecture has an impact on the healthiness of buildings thanks to its improvement in terms of thermal comfort, the reduction and control of interior CO2 levels, lighting that makes the most of natural light and, very importantly, the use of natural materials, avoiding any toxicity.
In order to achieve high levels of energy efficiency, the house is mainly south-facing, with more controlled openings to the east and west, avoiding openings to the north. There is only one licence on the north façade of the ground floor that adjoins the courtyard to give continuity to the garden towards the interior. It has an outdoor swimming pool.
“We wanted to incorporate the outside into the inside, hence the design of the courtyard. The perception of the garden reaches all the way to the end of the house. We oriented the house to the south, as we wanted the sun to reach all the rooms in the house”. Luis Javier Aguilar, architect.
The result is a signature house, as in addition to complying with the Passivhaus standard, the challenge was to incorporate the garden inside without giving up large windows and complying with all the premises of sustainability and self-sufficiency. Thus, they manage to enjoy “large openings”, more typical of more avant-garde design architectures, turning the a priori “aesthetic limitations” into opportunities.
The perfect space for events is the ground floor where the living room, dining room, kitchen, living room, guest toilet and garage are located. There is also an extensive and well-kept garden. There is a large driveway where up to twelve cars can be parked comfortably on the outside of the property. It has a charger for electric vehicles.
A signature project perfect for associating values such as sustainability, ecology and care for people and the environment with brands and experiences. A house capable of having a positive impact on emotions.
Project: Courtyard house EB10
Location: Las Rozas (Madrid).
Project date: 2020.
Architects: Clara Ulargui and Luis Aguilar Benavides. Positive Livings Studio.
Photographs: Fernando Alda.