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“Paral·lel” Residential Complex

A Lesson in Sun-Shading


“Paral·lel” Residential Complex
By Elisa Grossi -

Located in the western Mediterranean, the Balearic Islands are the first piece of Spain to greet the morning sun, which then shines for some 300 days of the year, guaranteeing hot summers and mild winters. As well as crystal clear seas and golden sandy beaches, the islands are a treasure house of art and history, particularly Mallorca, known as the Isla del Sol, the largest and most populous island of the archipelago and home to the capital, Palma de Mallorca. The city’s variegated architectural styles testify to the successive invasions of the Balearics down the centuries by ancient Rome, the Byzantines, Arabs, followed by the Aragonese.
The inseparable mix of incomparable natural beauty and rich cultural history is at the heart of Mallorca’s quintessential Mediterranean character that the architecture firm Ohlab always manages to capture and distill in their projects.

One of the practice’s latest achievements in Palma is the Paral-lel residential complex, located in the southwest Bonanova district of this small metropolis. A new-build, it comprises two parallel but independent volumes housing a total of 12 residential units of different sizes and types. The two volumes are linked by elevations containing a system of operable wooden sunshading louvers that although allowing the ingress of natural daylight, protect from the sun’s harsh glare and excessive heat build-up.

With Paral-lel, architects Paloma Hernáiz and Jaime Oliver have produced a small residential complex that eliminates the boundaries between vibrant city life and the peace and quiet of the countryside, combining the best of both lifestyles and embracing sustainability in its broadest sense. Their design was posited on minimizing the building’s carbon footprint and maximizing its energy efficiency.
Locally-sourced materials were used; environments are configured to allow cross-ventilation; a heat recovery system saves...

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