Territory / Ecosystem
Riudecols is on a sloppy side of a big creek valley, facing south. Its houses sit on this slope in such a way that their front and back street are in two different floors.
This is the case of the old house where Lidia wanted to live: it has two entrances in two floors. The big inhabitable space is on the third floor.
This orographical characteristic has brought narrow streets, where sunlight has trouble getting in. The old cinema is facing a square, where the entrance is, that allows air and light to come in from the east.
Bring light and air back in?
One summer day in 2003, Lidia asked us if we could have a look at an old abandoned cinema where she would like to build her home and studio, to see whether it was in good shape and her dream was feasible. While inside the big dark volume we found on our first visit, we were equally worried and excited: although the structure of the building was good, its physiology was far from inhabitable. But it was a place full of possibilities, even with a very low budget.
Before becoming a cinema, this used to be the town's lodge. Its 1500 m3 upper floor volume where hosts used to sleep or watch movies had all of its windows blocked. It was a huge dark space.
CIY (complete it yourself)
In order to build these micro weathers, we used standard wood posts for their lightness, availability and warmth. The balloon frame system was chosen for its easy transformation and assembly process. Although it is not a common technique in our territory, we thought that any carpenter would be able to learn it in a short time.
Architecture: David Tapias, Núria Salvadó
M/E: Josep M. Delmuns
Contractors: Franter SL (builders), Josep M. Bertran (Carpenter), Lídia Pérez
Photography: José Hevia, David Tapias, Lidia Pérez
1.To cure the building. Reinforce the structure where necessary.
2.To improve thermal comfort. To find a mechanism to make air inhabitable. It is not feasible to build a single climate with 1480 m3.
3.To lighten the construction. The change from inn to cinema left all windows walled. We reopen them to let light back in. There is also a new big window facing south from where you can look at the mountains and rest Lidia's sight after a long day of work.
Plan / Search
Inhabitable windows and CIY microclimates.
The proposal arises from two premises: to safeguard Lidia's health and economy. How to live in this old cinema feeling well (to get a good sunlight dose, not to get cold in winter, to rest...) and spending the minimum money (during the construction process and after that)?
To build a house inside a house. We differenciate two kinds of airs: a more exterior one (workshop) and a more interior one (house). The program is spread all over the building, always stuck to the outside thru a window (ventilation, sunlight...).
To build micro weathers. Each space can be independently heated or ventilated, while heating or ventilating the big hall.
These rooms are habitable windows that lighten the inside.
The entire project has been assembled by the carpenter, his son and Lidia.
A new friendship.
Josep Maria, the carpenter, built a first prototype in order to check the time it would take him to build all the rooms, and to give a more precise and fair price. It ended up being faster than he had first foreseen.
So to keep the budget as low as possible, Lidia helped the carpenter and his son in the assembly and varnishing of all the wood panels.
A day in the life
January 22nd, 2010.
From CIY to DIY:
New living room,
guest room and closet.
When Lidia moved in, the house was not finished. The carpenter was still working in the attic structure. This house, as all houses, is never finished. Lidia and Xavi keep transforming it according to their needs and possibilities.
In 2007 we lent her a videocamera and she recorded her life for a whole day:
In 2011 they asked us to help them build a new dining habitat by the kitchen. We drew some simple instructions that they could follow to build it themselves. They also transformed the studio into a guest room, and part of the living room into a wardrobe.
In 2008, almost three years after Lidia had moved in, we asked her to draw here experience so far in the house. We presented these drawings at a young architect´s congress in Valencia. This is the result: