Energy rehabilitation at Brenda and Clara’s house

  • start  2020
  • promoter   Particular
  • place   Gracia, barcelona

energy efficiency, rehabilitation and reform

The energy rehabilitation of Brenda and Clara's house is a sample of the vernacular architecture of single-family homes on the ground floor of the Gràcia district. This house, built around the beginning of the 20th century, had the characteristics of the buildings of the time: ground floor house with segregation of spaces articulated by a central corridor, private courtyard inside the island and a terrace along the roof of the building.

At the construction level, it is characterized by having partitions executed with natural stone and solid brick at the top of the walls, as well as small wooden beams of cross section between partitions. This house in particular consists of 2 volumes of different heights, the main body with access from the street and a body of height and lower surface with access to the inner courtyard.

The main objective of the reform has been to improve energy efficiency and health through the following strategies:

    Adapt the floor layout to the needs of users by eliminating the central aisle, creating a strip of services ( washbasin and dressing room) in the part with less natural lighting and making the spaces with contact on the most open façades to encourage ventilation and natural sunshine.
    Enhance the entry of outside light and the warming of the house in winter through d to widen the openings of the south-facing façades and create a skylight on the roof to facilitate the extraction of hot air in summer and improve cross ventilation
    Improving the airtightness of the building by moving facades and roofing with thermal insulation and incorporating a radiant floor system on the pavement to balance the hygrothermal contrast between interior and exterior

    Recover the material of the partitions with their original texture in order to allow the breathability of the walls and prevent condensation of moisture in the parts with less ventilation
    Restore the volume of the courtyard to its original state by demolishing the existing light construction and creating an outdoor space that allows for improvement the sun and the interior ventilation of the house as well as the quality of the air through increasing the presence of green.

One of the difficulties that has been solved thanks to the previous structural diagnosis is the protection of wooden beams affected by the presence of termites in most of the roof. For this reason, the wooden beams of the lower volume have been completely replaced and the rest of the house has been treated and structurally reinforced so as not to pose a risk to the house. Also, the original height was used to place a mezzanine, at the top of the toilet and the dressing room, with sunshine and natural ventilation thanks to the installation of a skylight on the roof.

Thanks to the design of the constructive and ecological solutions carried out with the active participation of the users in the whole construction process, it has been possible to rehabilitate energetically and improve the healthiness of a house that initially had deficiencies that endangered safety and the healthiness of users.

Photographs taken by Arbe.

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