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Tallerdarquitectura designs ‘Galeria’: a small house in the woods for a healthy retreat

Updated On : 14 Nov 2021
This small house in the Empordà (Spain) adapts to its natural environment, in a sustainable and eco-efficient way. It is a real viewpoint in the forest with high comfort to be enjoyed 365 days a year.
Tallerdarquitectura designs ‘Galeria’: a small house in the woods for a healthy retreat

Galeria is a reform and small extension of a pre-existing volume located in the middle of a forest of pines and holm oaks - a kind of annex of a typical Empordà century-old farmhouse.

“Take advantage of pre-existing elements as well as minimize costs. That is why the interior architectural structure was not modified and the small extension is placed on a concrete base that already existed. Apart from this principle, the main goal was to get a welcoming space between the trees,” said Bernat Llauradó, founding partner of Tallerdarquitectura Architecture Studio. The project has consisted of giving back to the space the quality and comfort it deserves, with the aim of being inhabited by an elderly person, who will spend his retirement in this bucolic natural environment.

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"The original volume was a construction without any architectural or constructive value" explains Bernat Llauradó Auquer, principal architect in the architecture firm Tallerdarquitectura. Thanks to the intervention, the house has become a very comfortable and idyllic refuge to enjoy the forest every day of the year.

A real viewpoint in the forest

This whiter volume appears among the vegetation, contrasting with it and offering a space from which to contemplate the surrounding landscape - with pleasant environments to enjoy the tranquility, calm and silence between trees and fields.

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Taking advantage of existing resources, the intervention has been based on a small extension proposed as a gallery that looks at the forest and allows the entry of natural light, offering a greater feeling of openness to surroundings.

The great capacity of adaptation of the conditions and relations between interior and exterior is achieved with folding wooden shutters, with their adjustable slats, which filter the light and allow to pass of greater intimacy and darkness, until offering a complete opening . At sunset time the interior becomes a small firefly, which subtly projects its warm light outwards, leaving the inner life in sight. In the same way, the multiple combinations between the windows and the blinds help to regulate the passage of air according to the comfort desires of its inhabitants.

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The interior reform is solved by maintaining the pre-existing structure of the volume, improving the thermal conditions and updating the features for better habitability (facilities, sanitary ware, kitchen, etc.).

Natural textures to generate warmth and comfort

Tallerdarquitectura designs ‘Galeria’: a small house in the woods for a healthy retreat

Natural textures, with simple materials and finishes, knots of complexities or other artifices flow naturally in the project.  Ceramic tiles, wood, steel and cork have been used. This combination of materials helps to create a warm, serene, soft atmosphere, without great contrasts. The protagonist is the outside, the green of the environment, the plants, the trees, the fields - the inside must go unnoticed. With this same conception, the interior lighting is diluted in space, with linear elements integrated into the architecture with indirect warm light.

Sustainability and eco-efficiency

One of the project keys is to improve energy efficiency. This has led to an improvement in the insulation of the existing building (especially in its roof) and the incorporation of good insulation in the new extension volume.

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Thanks to the blinds filter with folding slats and the glasses its possible to achieve a good thermal behavior, so that it is not necessary to use air conditioning in summer, while in winter the solar rays can be captured by the glazed facade in order to obtain the thermal gains in the interior.

Tallerdarquitectura designs ‘Galeria’: a small house in the woods for a healthy retreat

The large amount of natural light and the placement of the solar panels also contributes for a great energy self-sufficiency. In this way, a space with very low energy demands is achieved, and therefore with a lower environmental impact. In addition, most of the materials used have a low-impact life cycle (compared to other equivalents), and many of them come from a local suppliers.

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Architect:              Bernat Llauradó Auquer (Tallerdarquitectura)

Photography:       Pere de Prada

Builder:                Construcciones Sadurní Peraferrer

Location:              Baix Empordà (Girona)-Spain