Spanish architectural firm Emiliano López Mónica Rivera Arquitectos has built two sustainable homes, both featuring an impressive facade made from cork. Dubbed "Two Cork Houses," the homes are located in the beautiful natural forest landscape of Plafrugell, in Northern Spain. The architects spent considerable efforts designing the homes around the forest to have little impact on the existing flora. To do so, the dwellings have been built raised above the terrain, with parts of the home being built around existing trees to invite the beauty of nature into the everyday life of its habitants.
"The houses emerge from an uneven and steep terrain that has been modified as little as possible," says Emiliano López Mónica Rivera Arquitectos. "Permeable gravel pavements have been introduced and the existing vegetation has been preserved and enhanced with new Mediterranean plantings, giving the impression of a place hardly changed after the intervention."
The Two Cork Houses measuring 247 sqm (2,658 sq ft) and 112 sqm (1,205 sq ft) respectively, have been built with a concrete foundation and pillars, raw timber interior and a double layer of insulating cork to clad the exterior. Due to the high insulation of the homes, they have obtained a Class A energy rating, which according to the architects is the highest achievable rating available in Spain. The homes boast an annual energy consumption of 41.44 kWh and 46.22 kWh per square meter, and emissions of 7.04 kg and 7.88 kg of CO2 per square meter each year.
"The use of cork as a material for finishing the facades supports its environmental adaptability in a wooded landscape dominated by the presence of cork trees," adds Emiliano López Mónica Rivera Arquitectos.
The interior of the homes take full advantage of the forest and gives the impression of living in an oversized treehouse. Filled with several nooks looking out across the natural landscapes and coupled with large outdoor terraces, the homes are designed as an oasis away from the hustle and bustle of city life. Keeping the interior design minimal, each floor plan eliminates the need for corridors and doors, with the rooms flowing into one another.
Where possible the home also boasts built-in timber furniture; including desks in the bedrooms; storage cupboards and nooks throughout the home; display cabinets in the kitchen; timber dining table; and wooden shutters on the windows.
"Intimate in scale, the indoor spaces are linked to one another without passageways in a sequence of rooms of varying size, their uses being defined by their relationship to the outside, be it the distant view of the sea, the vision of the tops of the pines or the direct means of access to the terrain," says Emiliano López Mónica Rivera Arquitectos.
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