Architecture

Passively-cooled Spanish house promotes semi-outdoor living

Passively-cooled Spanish house...
Work on the MMMMMS House began back in 2011 and was finally completed in 2014 (Photo: Anna & Eugeni Bach)
Work on the MMMMMS House began back in 2011 and was finally completed in 2014 (Photo: Anna & Eugeni Bach)
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The two-story home comprises a total floorspace of 300 sq m (3,229 sq ft) (Photo: Anna & Eugeni Bach)
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The two-story home comprises a total floorspace of 300 sq m (3,229 sq ft) (Photo: Anna & Eugeni Bach)
First floor balcony, from below (Photo: Anna & Eugeni Bach)
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First floor balcony, from below (Photo: Anna & Eugeni Bach)
View from first floor balcony (Photo: Anna & Eugeni Bach)
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View from first floor balcony (Photo: Anna & Eugeni Bach)
The home does not require air conditioning to maintain a comfortable interior temperature (Photo: Anna & Eugeni Bach)
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The home does not require air conditioning to maintain a comfortable interior temperature (Photo: Anna & Eugeni Bach)
The architects liken its interior layout to a warehouse (Photo: Anna & Eugeni Bach)
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The architects liken its interior layout to a warehouse (Photo: Anna & Eugeni Bach)
The home also sports plenty of insulation for winter (Photo: Anna & Eugeni Bach)
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The home also sports plenty of insulation for winter (Photo: Anna & Eugeni Bach)
The two-story home comprises a total floorspace of 300 sq m (3,229 sq ft) (Photo: Anna & Eugeni Bach)
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The two-story home comprises a total floorspace of 300 sq m (3,229 sq ft) (Photo: Anna & Eugeni Bach)
Sliding doors separate interior spaces (Photo: Anna & Eugeni Bach)
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Sliding doors separate interior spaces (Photo: Anna & Eugeni Bach)
A roof-based solar heater warms domestic hot water (Photo: Anna & Eugeni Bach)
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A roof-based solar heater warms domestic hot water (Photo: Anna & Eugeni Bach)
Surprisingly, the home features no solar panels for electricity production (Photo: Anna & Eugeni Bach)
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Surprisingly, the home features no solar panels for electricity production (Photo: Anna & Eugeni Bach)
A rainwater collection system stores water in an underground water tank, for irrigation and toilet flushing (Photo: Anna & Eugeni Bach)
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A rainwater collection system stores water in an underground water tank, for irrigation and toilet flushing (Photo: Anna & Eugeni Bach)
Work on the MMMMMS House began back in 2011 and was finally completed in 2014 (Photo: Anna & Eugeni Bach)
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Work on the MMMMMS House began back in 2011 and was finally completed in 2014 (Photo: Anna & Eugeni Bach)
The skeletal framework and balcony area (Photo: Anna & Eugeni Bach)
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The skeletal framework and balcony area (Photo: Anna & Eugeni Bach)
The skeletal framework and balcony area (Photo: Anna & Eugeni Bach)
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The skeletal framework and balcony area (Photo: Anna & Eugeni Bach)
Architectural drawing of the MMMMMS House (Image: Anna & Eugeni Bach)
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Architectural drawing of the MMMMMS House (Image: Anna & Eugeni Bach)
Architectural drawing of the MMMMMS House (Image: Anna & Eugeni Bach)
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Architectural drawing of the MMMMMS House (Image: Anna & Eugeni Bach)
Architectural drawing of the MMMMMS House (Image: Anna & Eugeni Bach)
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Architectural drawing of the MMMMMS House (Image: Anna & Eugeni Bach)
Architectural drawing of the MMMMMS House (Image: Anna & Eugeni Bach)
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Architectural drawing of the MMMMMS House (Image: Anna & Eugeni Bach)
Architectural drawing of the MMMMMS House (Image: Anna & Eugeni Bach)
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Architectural drawing of the MMMMMS House (Image: Anna & Eugeni Bach)
Architectural drawing of the MMMMMS House (Image: Anna & Eugeni Bach)
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Architectural drawing of the MMMMMS House (Image: Anna & Eugeni Bach)
Architectural drawing of the MMMMMS House (Image: Anna & Eugeni Bach)
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Architectural drawing of the MMMMMS House (Image: Anna & Eugeni Bach)
Architectural drawing of the MMMMMS House (Image: Anna & Eugeni Bach)
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Architectural drawing of the MMMMMS House (Image: Anna & Eugeni Bach)
Architectural drawing of the MMMMMS House (Image: Anna & Eugeni Bach)
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Architectural drawing of the MMMMMS House (Image: Anna & Eugeni Bach)
Architectural drawing of the MMMMMS House (Image: Anna & Eugeni Bach)
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Architectural drawing of the MMMMMS House (Image: Anna & Eugeni Bach)
Architectural drawing of the MMMMMS House (Image: Anna & Eugeni Bach)
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Architectural drawing of the MMMMMS House (Image: Anna & Eugeni Bach)
View gallery - 25 images

It takes a certain kind of house and climate to make semi-outdoor living appeal on a regular basis (as my rusting garden furniture attests). Australia's Cut Paw Paw House manages it, and so does Spain's similar MMMMMS House: a passively-cooled home extended with a skeletal structure that serves to encourage its owners to spend more time outside.

Architects Anna & Eugeni Bach began work on the awkwardly-named MMMMMS House back in 2011, and it was finally completed in 2014. From the photos at least, it looks like it was worth the wait, and the two-story home takes its place very well within the rural Catalonian landscape.

According to the architects, the interior of the home is laid out much like a warehouse, with the primary volume separated into smaller box-like rooms which lead into each other with sliding doors – which makes sense given its comparative length.

The skeletal framework and balcony area (Photo: Anna & Eugeni Bach)
The skeletal framework and balcony area (Photo: Anna & Eugeni Bach)

MMMMMS House was designed with energy-efficiency in mind, and a series of carefully-placed skylights and windows were installed to promote natural ventilation. This appears to have done the trick, as Anna & Eugeni Bach report no need for any air conditioning.

A high-performance wood burner is available for winter, and a roof-based solar array heats domestic hot water. In addition, a rainwater collection system provides water for irrigation and toilet flushing. Curiously though, there are no solar panels for electricity production, which is arguably a missed opportunity given the abundance of sunshine in that part of the world.

Though left uncovered in the photos, the architects told us that they envision the skeletal framework being covered with a combination of wooden shades and vegetation, allowing respite from the Spanish sun. As sliding doors connect the area directly to the kitchen, this should make it into an appealing semi-outdoor for the owners at mealtimes.

Source: Anna & Eugeni Bach

View gallery - 25 images
1 comment
kmccune
I,m just a little skeptical because,as far as I know Spanish summers are torrid and what the article doesnt address is how much discomfot the builders are willing to tolerate at times,what they consider tolerable,may not be very comfortable to the average climate controlled dweller,however I have no doubt that the habitation works extremely well compared to the typical Spanish dwelling,Kudos to them for doing this and starting to live within the enviromental constraints that Mother Nature provides