Summerhouse in Jarque de la Val, a very little town in Teruel. A very unpopulated area of Spain more than 4 hours from Barcelona by car. It is designed to get together three families just once a year, and in the month of August. The objective is an economic and functional house, with maximum shade to combat the strong summer heat.
It is built with a very low budget. With few means and local people. In diferent phases; short and intermittent periods, with the arrival of good weather and with the architect always on site. A “slow cooked” project built over THREE SPRINGTIMES.
The house is built occupying an old corral in which there is a hay barn. A small construction with two levels. One for the animals in the ground floor, and other for the storage of grain in the first floor. The old stone walls and the wood beams have been kept in their original position. The geometry of these elements is what shapes the overall volume of the project.
It determines the inclination of the roof and the dimensions of the interior court.
The plot is located on the edge of the village. Where the houses end, and the orchards and fields begin. The house is retracted in plant and adopts a U-shape. In this way it, avoids the visual contact with the neighboring houses, and opens towards the landscape. At the same time generates a patio in the center.
03_In Praise of Shadows
The whole house is topped by a very simple sloped roof. The patio is also covered and becomes a kind of “indoor volume”,whitch remains always protected and shaded.
The access is through a large recycled corral door. When it is open it becomes an area to sit down or stop to talk with the neighbors at the entrance of the house, which is a very common activity in the town. This space communicates with the patio passin below the house.
The patio, is the heart of the house, the most used and most polyvalent space. The most of the day is shaded and well ventilated. It is the access on one side to the common areas, and on the other to the three rooms separately, as in a Motel.
The common area is situated inside the thick stone walls of the old construction, whitch is also semi-buried. This zone maintains a constant cool temperature. It contains the dining-room, the kitchens and a wooden mezzanine with the living area.
The bedrooms are situated in the opposite side of the patio. One single-room in the ground floor and two family-rooms in the first floor. The rooms are focused on the landscape. An they have two levels; one (downstairs) for parents, and one (upstairs) for kids.
The interior divisions were made with wooden frames, that were later covered with recycled wood to make the railings. In the future these divisions will allow to split each room in two, if they want.
The construction is done with local labor and the most common materials from nearby stores; ceramics, wood and concrete. The “thermo-clay” of 24 cm is used as the main piece. It ‘s a large piece, and allows to work very fast. It combines with gero (24 cm too) and with prestressed concrete beams (2 beams with h = 20, have a width of 24cm). We build like a Lego, exposing the way of doing.
Any old materials found in the barn are reused extensively; mainly old woodwork found in neighbouring houses that have been knocked down.
We decided to catalog and re-use them. They solve doors and windows, but they were also reycled as interior divisions, balusters, shutters, etc ..
We also incorporated some pieces found in construction warehouses, like the ceramic steps, stock remains ...
The architect’s constant presence on site as well as the intermitent rhythm of work is crucial in the final outcome of the project. They allow for changes, improvisation, experimentation... during the process.
It was like in the filming of a documentary; with a clear script of beginning, but in which the reality and the improvisation fit ... And playing with the logical memory of Alvar Aalto and his Summerhouse in Muuratsalo.
David Sebastian was born in 1973 in Barcelona, and graduated in architecture from the ETSAB-UPC. Since 2001 he leads his own architecture studio, a multisdisciplinary space where he combines research and projects. He has been assistant lecturer at School of Architecture in Talca (Chile), and visiting professor at the schools of design EINA (Barcelona) and EDRA (Rubí) and at the School of Architecture in Reus (Tarragona).
His works have been published and exhibited in different Spanish and European cities. He was selected for the Catalan Pavilion in Venice Biennale 2012. He has been selected in the FAD Award in 2011 and 2018, and a Jury mention of the Arquia/Proxima in 2012. He was nominated for the EU Prize - Mies Van der Rohe Award in 2013. Last year (2017) he was also finalist in the FAD Award with the coral book “Other Glòries. Proposal for the Renaturalization of Barcelona”.