A 1000 m2 plot at a 5 minute walk from the center of Reus. In the center of the site, there is a former countryhouse in the rural outskirts of town, that has been surrounded by all kind of urban constructions in recent years. It still keeps its quiet, rural atmosphere.
The existing house is a mas that the late grandfather bought many years ago, and he spent his life taking care of it and slowly building additions and taking care of its garden.
To upcycle or to destroy?
To upcycle or to destroy?
The JEC family's only initial demand was that they wanted to live on the ground floor. The plot was big enough for a single-storey house, so they don't have to go up and down the stairs when they get old.
The JEC's first question was whether it was better to keep the existing mas or to demolish it and build a new structure instead?
This mas was slowly transformed by a mason and the late grandfather. Through the years, on the weekends and holidays, he invented a magic, humble atmosphere. Starting from a 45 m2 basic house on two floors, he used his skills as a watchmaker to assemble several light, improvised porches where the family used to cook, eat and spend most of their time. A second outdoor house.
Architecture: David Tapias, project director; Ricard Pau.
Building engineer: Pep Borràs.
M/E: Josep M. Delmuns
Contractors: Aurea (builders), Fustes Borniquel (timber).
2. BUILDING MATERIALS.
As usual, the main building materials are for free -but not endless. Air, sunlight, breeze, weathers, neighbors, the garden planted by the late parents. The place is so full of objects, that we will end up taking more weight than adding.
Since last year, CLT panels are fabricated in the Pyrenees region. They are the closest big-size, carbon neutral components available. A good choice in case we need to build an extension.
The quality of this space is not the existing main house. Although its structure is in good shape, what really gives it a magic atmosphere are its self-built garden structures. These outdoor shelers are the real value of this place, not the main house. They are impossible to design. Probably they are impossible to reproduce. They are extremely fragile, to the point that it seems impossible to repair them.
So what we need to find is a way to repair and upcycle these structures, and add some more inhabitable air among them.
This indoors air will be placed in the worst area of the plot, which is often shaded by the main house.
The extension is family to the existing porches.
By respecting the existing constructions, we give three autonomous habitats, that the family will use according to their changing needs through the year and decades.
What is foreseen as a buffer space might become the daughter's house. What is thought as a guest apartment might become the writing room...
Geological neighbours: The presence of quite tall apartment blocks on the northern and north-western side protects the site from the strong Mestral winds, and shading it during the hot summer afternoons, strongly modifying its microclimate.
We take advantage of our neighbour's accidental gift by using some lighter construction techniques and opening up towards the western light.