Frumales is a small village located in a pine valley in Segovia, Spain. Surrounded by slopes and farmlands, its compact city centre is a mixture of residential and agricultural architecture from different ages, built in stone masonry walls and ceramic tile roofs. The site, close to the river, results for the aggregation of three long and narrow lots containing abandoned constructions in different states of decay.
The design embraces the place and the value of the old material, and sets this as a starting point. Reusing the material, understanding traditional local construction techniques and choosing the right structural system leads to the final solution. Through a concrete grid of beams and pillars, the livable plane is elevated above the terrain. This concrete frame defines the master line on which it is supported the wooden shell. A serialized wood porticoes carefully calculated and design, are assembled on site during a single day. The wooden structure defines geometry, volume and materiality of the interior domestic space. In the outside, a multi-layered facade surrounds the entire house recovering the existing stone throughout the exterior perimeter, while the patio and porch are finished in a smooth white render.
The interior is designed as an open and flexible space, qualify and filled with the programme. The house is fortified towards the street, with a surface occupied by service and storage areas. The height in the bedrooms is limited by the ‘sobrado segoviano’ a vernacular lightweight structure with no use defined, halfway between a mezzanine and a piece of furniture. The continuous porch facing the garden expands the living spaces to the exterior nature. Strategically placed windows of different sizes frame the views and provide multiples tonalities of light, configuring a dynamic interior. The spatial sequence created by patio, wooden porch and garden interweaves the interior domesticity with the exterior space, generating a series of sheltered spaces in the open air with different grades of protection that allow the interior to enlarge outside depending on the occasion. Multiple cross views, transparencies and reflections emphasize the interior - exterior feeling.
Traditional energy strategies, both active and passive, are used and updated in order to control the radical temperature changes of the region. The special attention paid to sustainability and energy saving allow the building to achieve the maximum energy rating. The house is covered with a generous insulation that allows to use the thermal inertia of the massive walls to avoid temperature oscillation in the interior and maintain a constant temperature along the day. The roof height and the position of the openings allow a nice and fast crossed ventilation and the chimney effect depending on the season. The central chimney is properly connected to a water system that heats up the whole dwelling during the cold periods.
Roberto Lebrero and Borja Gómez (Madrid, 1984) are architects from the Madrid School of Architecture (ETSAM) since 2010 and they both are Master in Advanced Architectural Design (MPAA) from the same university in 2012.
After different periods in United States, Sweden and Brazil, they are currently based in Madrid, developing a combined professional career forming part of two teams of recognized international prestige and collaborating together in different projects of personal interest. They also combine the practice with active teaching and research.
Their works have been shown in different exhibitions and specialized publications, and have received national and international awards as students and professionals, highlighting the End of Studies Prize, Design Excellence Award of the AIA, Chicago Atheneum, selected in Enor Architecture Award and Honorable Mention Europan 11 among others.