BIOCONSTRUCTIVE HOUSING REHABILITATION IN STA. CRISTINA D’ARO

The work we present is the comprehensive reform, for a humble family with two girls, of a small single-family house in the town of Santa Cristina d’Aro, located in the Baix Empordá region (Girona), about 5 km from the coast . The house that belonged to a relative, is located in the town center of the town
and it’s part of a 1970s promotion of equal middle-class homes. The main constructive and bio-habitability deficiencies that arose were the insulation, humidity due to condensation and capillary action, causing fungi and an excessively humid environment, aggravated by the telluric current of water on the north face and obsolete facilities, without grounding, which generated electromagnetic disturbances. It also did not meet the needs of the new inhabitants’ functional program. [Vc_single_image image = “9337” img_size = “full”]

Initially, the possibility of selling it and building a new one on other land was raised, but finally, the owner decided keep the house and rehabilitate it. Its location offered many advantages as it is a consolidated neighborhood in the urban nucleus of Santa Cristina d’Aro, close to the municipality’s work, services and schools. In turn, the possibility of teaching tai-chi in the existing garage space was seen. The isolated house is located on a small plot of 400m2, with inadequate access from the North. Despite this, the location of the main living spaces should be in the South area, at the back of the plot. The possibility of expanding some spaces is considered to improve their habitability. However, the town planning regulations are very restrictive and limited to the typological maintenance and homogeneity of the buildings, making it impossible to alter the existing volumes. As a working methodology, several meetings are held with the family to better understand their needs and propose a distribution according to their way of life. The new distribution proposes a division day, on the ground floor, and night, on the first floor. On the ground floor, after evaluating the available space, the decision is made to locate the most vital and most permanent space to the South, consisting of the kitchen, dining room and living room. In the South façade, two large door-windows open, allowing access and expansion of the living and dining spaces to the outside area, taking advantage of the space on the plot. In the North, the existing bathroom and garage are modified and an office-room is created. On the first floor, there are the two girls’ bedrooms, a master bedroom, a bathroom and a distributor with
access to the staircase on the first floor. The bedrooms with windows are located on the South and East facades and the bathroom on the North, in turn the windows are closed to the West, especially due to summer overheating due to the setting sun. To optimize access to the rooms and use of the interior space, a semi-elliptical staircase is located, illuminated by a skylight in the center of the House.

Rethinking all this new distribution leads to the modification of the distribution of loads, which involved the execution of different girders integrated into the existing slab and the construction of a central core of load-bearing walls around the elliptical staircase.
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start with the strategy of working on the entire envelope
of the building expanding and adding windows and accesses, for its adaptation
to the new internal uses and above all to improve the characteristics
bioclimatic of the building. The first decisions are made: expand to
Maximum south-facing windows to improve solar radiation
using the greenhouse effect of the glazed surface, and add a layer
of cork chipboard insulation on the outside of the facades
North, East and West. The South façade was to be kept uninsulated, since
Because of the solar radiation received, it is more convenient to take advantage of its
contribution of heat to the interior of the house due to the thermal inertia of the
material built, but ultimately not made. It is a building
built with a system of reinforced concrete joist floors and
load-bearing walls on exterior walls built with two sheets of 10 cm
made of solid single brick forming a chamber and without insulation. As far as I know
raises as a priority need the thermal reconditioning of the
building to the new regulations, this implies isolating all the facades, the roofing and carpentry. [/ vc_column_text] [/ vc_column] [/ vc_row]

As solutions to the improvement of thermal behavior, mechanically fix an outer layer of 3 + 3 cm agglomerated cork, and project a plaster and stucco with Morón lime coloring. In order to improve the insulation of the roof, 11 cm thick hemp fiber blankets have been placed between the connecting partitions of the roof [/ vc_column_text]

The joineries are made of high quality, executed by local company, through the use of camera and safety glass, rubber gasket and executed in chestnut wood, with subframes highly treated with salts, due to the presence of termites, and final protection with natural varnishes based on linseed oil. Thanks to the subframe, the thermal bridge in the connection between carpentry and wall is also avoided, avoiding placing undesirable foams or silicones from the perspective of bio-construction. [/ Vc_column_text]
The interior flooring is a continuous surface of natural white microcement, with a final layer of silicate, as well as the interior paint. Wet rooms are solved with a lime plaster and a lime stucco finish. The Tai-chi room has a special treatment with a wall built with exposed BTC (Compressed Earth Blocks), which improves the compressive strength of the dividing wall and increases thermal inertia. The rest of the walls were covered with a first lime plaster and a selected and commercialized clay finish. The ceilings and floors that have been renovated have been made with the Catalan vault system, a sheet of solid brick seen taken with fast natural cement and with two bends of ceramic slab taken with lime mortar. We can see it on the ceiling of the Tai-chi room, in the form of barrel vaults, and also in the kitchen-dining room by executing a four-point vault. [/ vc_column_text]
A high-performance stove has also been installed between the room and the dining room whose contribution is expected high and that will provide most of the necessary heat in winter. Once the work was finished, checks were made on the bioclimatic improvements that can be seen in the lower graph with two datalogs on the interior and exterior temperatures and humidity of the building. The improvement in overall thermal quality was confirmed by the owner who has managed to significantly reduce heating costs. Although the data reveals that the house is still low in thermal inertia and night protection, since there are not yet any interior thermal curtains, or the external protections of the porch and blinds are not yet operational. For the generation of DHW (sanitary hot water) a solar panel system reinforced by a natural gas boiler is used, which also provides heat to the underfloor heating throughout the house. Annual consumption is estimated at one ton of firewood and 400 euros in gas. [/ Vc_column_text]
During the project’s creative process, situ ”, the center near the staircase is chosen as the place for ordering the energies of the place. Geobiological studies showed a low energy level caused by electrical contamination (absence of grounding and obsolete installation) and by the presence of a waterway in the northern area. In the case of an intervention in an existing structure, it is chosen to seek the rebalancing of the cosmoteluric energy exchange through the use of a waveform whose influence can harmonize the phenomena geobiological of the place. This is how we work, starting from the center of the ellipse as the center of a solsticial geometric path. The solsticial regulatory layout is a method developed from Raymond Montercy’s research on the tradition of European Romanesque architecture. The solsticial path transfers the resulting proportion of the critical points of the solar path on the summer solstice to a horizontal plane. In this way the cosmic information of the latitude of the place is integrated into the regulatory layout of the building and from this geometric matrix the constructive elements that activate it are rearranged. Due to the complexity of the layout, not all points can be activated or made to coincide with construction elements such as walls or columns, but when working with this type of layout, it is sufficient to activate some key points for the layout to work. The variety of lines of circles, rectangles and reticles that are obtained allow obtaining enough tools to adapt the regulatory path to the project. [/ Vc_column_text]

Project: Ecoarchitecture-Gabi Barbeta

Architects: Gabriel Barbeta, Laura Barbera, Jordi Caminero

Technical Architect: David Pradas

Builder: Puig alternative house – Construcciones Ventura
Carpentry: Iscletec

Facilities: SAVA facilities

Year of completion 2011 [/ vc_column_text] [/ vc_column] [/ vc_row]