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Casa Ariet - Detached house project in La Massana

Efficiency, economy and functionality

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Holder; private
Year; 2016

Detached house in La Massana


  • Structure and architecture project: Pau Iglesias, Architect.

  • Facilities project: Enginesa

  • Support project: Key Engineering


Construction company: LOCUBSA


The project starts from a very small plot of just over 300m2. However, the intention is to free up as much outdoor space as possible, to be able to enjoy a large garden in the summer. An elevated construction allows this goal to be achieved while improving the views over the Ordino valley and the Massana, and above all, the Casamanya peak.

One of the premises of the project is the economy in construction and in its subsequent maintenance. The house uses its own and austere materials of usual construction in the country with a regular and compact volume that optimizes the interior surface with the built perimeter. At the same time, a change of longitudinal material on the facade, and a blown balcony not perpendicular to the project breaks the volume into two parts without representing any additional cost to the construction. The volume is also broken up by two roofs on two levels that face the development's street, allowing it to be integrated in a more appropriate way within a low-density housing development.

The orientation of the house and the orography of the nearby environment means that the house has few hours of sunshine. This factor is taken into account in the conception of the project, designing the skin of the house with several layers of insulation and solving in an efficient way the possible thermal bridges. However, one of the other factors studied has been air-tightness testing its completion through a blower-door test. 

After a careful study of all the possible alternatives for air conditioning the house, it is established that due to its type, location, orientation and insulation, the most efficient system for heating the house is aerothermia. This system also allows for cooling during the warmer months if necessary. Home automation allows you to control and optimize the climate system through efficient programming. The same home automation system allows you to control other parameters such as the movement of the shutters, the intrusion, fire and flood alarms, the control of open doors and windows, etc.
The combination of the passive insulation systems, the efficiency of the heat/cold production system (aerothermia) and the domotic control of the house has made it possible to have a house with very low energy consumption, having an annual consumption of less than 20 KWh/m2

Functionally, the property has two distinct parts. A home and a professional office. The fact that the plot has access through two different streets allows an absolutely independent access to the house and the office. The interior distributions respond to the requirements of each of the uses that the property has. 
The orientation of the house makes it a viewpoint of the Casamanya. The main rooms on each of the floors take advantage of this privileged view. The house also overlooks the peak of Comapedrosa, visible from the windows on the north face. The shape of the balcony on the second floor also responds to being a viewpoint of the Pic.

The treatment of the outdoor space is very important in this project. Despite the small dimensions of the plot, the fact of making a construction in height allows to release the maximum of free space as a garden. A garden that is arranged on 3 different levels, serving 3 of the 4 habitable floors of the property. Thus, the last of the plants has a balcony to compensate for the absence of its own garden.  The garden has areas of hard pavement combined with areas of grass, and a sloping slope of varied vegetation. A small semi-urban garden in the middle of the garden adds the last natural touch to the perimeter of the house.
The final result of the project is a property suitable for the uses desired by the owner, built within a very tight deadline (14 months) thanks to good coordination between the architect, the construction company and the industrialists participating in the project.  All this with a reasonable construction cost, and with reduced future energy consumption and maintenance expenses. 

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