DWELL MAGAZINE PUBLICA LA CASA PASIVA CERROS DE MADRID
Segunda publicación en la revista estadounidense Dwell con un artículo sobre nuestro proyecto en Cerros de Madrid titulado «La vivienda de una pareja apuesta por la sostenibilidad en un olivar cercano a Madrid.»
Para leer el artículo de Dwell: Passive House in Cerros de Madrid Slow Studio
Para ver el proyecto en nuestra web: Casa en Cerros de Madrid
A Couple’s Home Strives for Sustainability in an Olive Grove Near Madrid
Slow Studio uses passive design techniques to create a brick house with a surprisingly light footprint.
Text by Kelly Dawson
The couple sought out Slow Studio because of the firm’s expertise in sustainability and healthy living, which underscores the building materials and interior design details of each project. «They are a very conscientious family, and they sought a firm that respects high standards of well-being,» says Serra.
The site lies in a suburban area about 30 miles from Madrid’s city center. «It’s a neighborhood that’s highly dependent on the city center for most services, and the owners are not able to work remotely,» she says. «But at the same time, it’s leading the way in urban development and mobility policies to create a more sustainable and egalitarian community.»
The plot of land was mostly flat, with an elongated but narrow south side, making it ideal for interconnected rooms—but a challenge in terms of maximizing natural light. «The south facade was only about 30 feet long,» Serra says.
To accommodate the scale, Serra and the team created a floor plan that fits almost neatly into a square. The living, dining, and kitchen areas take up the narrow south facade, which is separated from the north facade by an entryway and a patio. Two bedrooms, two bathrooms, and an office comprise the north facade, and everything is covered by a sloping roof dotted with skylights that illuminate the interior. The home’s abundance of doors and windows also facilitate cross ventilation.
«Having a very compact floor plan a key strategy for reducing energy losses,» Serra says. «The compactness is only interrupted by a courtyard that provides sunlight in the room to the north. In addition, raising the roof allows us to bring in light and heat.»
In terms of building materials, Serra had to choose wisely on three counts: She sought to respect the land, embrace environmentally friendly products, and finish the project with the smallest carbon footprint possible. «We are aware that the life cycles of materials—from their extraction, manufacture, transport, and construction, to their use and maintenance—affect the carbon footprint of each building,» she notes.
«In Spain, a country with an abundance of clay soil, ceramic bricks have traditionally been used as a versatile construction material for both building systems and finishes, allowing for greater integration with the landscape,» Serra adds.
The design team chose prefabricated laminated timber for the roof to accommodate its slope and skylights, and reinforced it on the exterior with galvanized steel. «We avoided using varnishes, glues, and paints throughout the house,» she adds. «We also barely touched the surrounding landscape—the natural terrain full of ancient olive trees helps to mitigate the outside temperature even in the hottest months,» she says.
Looking back on the project, which was completed in March 2021, Serra is proud of what she and her team were able to accomplish for these owners. Not only does the layout inspire connection within their family and the outdoors—and it can accommodate future additions, if they wish—but the home’s execution upholds the firm’s values. «This is how we believe a healthy house should be,» she says. «It presents each noble material in a sincere way, and takes advantage of its architecture to reduce its energy consumption.»