By Team IAnD
Photography: Esteve Serra & Xavier Planas; courtesy the architects
Read Time: 2 mins
ERA architects design a home that reflects the language of an artist, who is rooted, emotional and progressive in nature.
As sensitive as they come, Chris is an artist, musician and sailor with a penchant for being whimsical and grounded at the same time. When he decided to root his houseboat (a recovered personal treasure) near Besós river in Barcelona, he chose an old fisherman’s house to comprise its all-important adjunct to be able to harness a comfortable, light-filled home.
ERA Architects headed by founder Esther Rovira was called upon to make a composite home of these two disjointed entities. Using a vertical greenhouse as the mainstay, the three-level home stands transformed with a charming English cottage-like ambience especially since the inner patio (now the music studio) includes a lemon tree.
On the ground floor, the living room connects the kitchen and the entrance of the original building and a large balcony opens to the outside so you can almost pick up some fresh lemons directly from the treetop welcoming the traffic that connects with the rest of spaces.
The art studio is a diaphanous space of slender heights and light. Conceived as a greenhouse ecosystem, where the creations of the artist are mixed with the natural habitat, the skin oriented to the south acclimatizes the house during winter; while large windows on both sides make it possible for the house to be cross ventilated in summer. This duality has the home performing like an enclosure capturing light and heat, in sync with the climatic vagaries of nature.
Sustainability is woven into the skin of the built form via building systems that are dry and modular, allowing for complete disassembly and recycling, when required. The holistic skeleton that supports the slabs, the roof, windows and façade is made of metal whilst a self-supporting Polycarbonate Thermoclik system eliminates the need for vertical aluminum, while improving aesthetics and reducing installation costs.
Light, rigid, translucent material, quick installation and excellent energy-saving features viz., 40mm thick multilayer plates with protection against ultraviolet radiation; wooden slabs and an installation system without adhesives, water management system and renewable energy systems with zero waste generation contribute to the environment. Added to this, the roof has a 45º slope to the south to add solar panels in the future.
Casa Poly works as a closed box in winter, transforming sunlight into heat and holding it at night. During the summer the house is open and cross-ventilated. Despite being designed and built in an uncertain economic context, the house is adaptable, passively air-conditioned, naturalized, diaphanous and full of natural light. And connected to the natural environment!
Creative Team: Esther Rovira & Chris Irish
Quality Surveyor: Albert Bonaventura Sans
Structural engineer: Jorge Martín
Contractor: Gil Obras
Metal Works: Carlos Albaladejo
Facade: Ironlux & Seframa