Nestled in the quaint town of Ullastret, Girona, lies an architectural gem that brilliantly fuses tradition with innovation. House 1413, conceived by HARQUITECTES, is a project inspired by a timeless stone wall that once demarcated the estate, embodying an extraordinary character and an irregular geometry.
House 1413 Technical Information
- Architects1-2: HARQUITECTES
- Location: Ullastret, Girona, Spain
- Topics: Stone Houses, Spanish Houses
- Area: 330 m2
- Project Year: 2014 – 2017
- Photographs: © Adrià Goula
Without the existing wall, the first and main challenge the project had to face was that of re-contextualizing the plot, building a new house able to offer a coherent, deferent, and honest response to its surroundings.– HARQUITECTES
House 1413 Photographs
Preserving Historical Continuity in the Modern Landscape
The wall, a testament to the property’s history, went around the entire site, serving as a natural curtain that partially hid the tops of the trees inside. However, with current regulations demanding wider streets, preserving the wall was rendered impossible, setting forth the project’s primary challenge – to re-contextualize the plot without the existing wall.
In place of the conventional design of situating the house amidst the garden, HOUSE 1413 dares to propose the house as a fence. This innovative “house wall” not only reinstates the urban continuity disrupted by the wall’s disappearance but also introduces an elongated, single-level architectural style that harmonizes with the site’s topography and the new geometry of the street.
Constructive Echoes of the Past
The house faithfully follows the material and construction logic of the original wall fence but adapts to contemporary requirements. Built entirely with load-bearing walls, the design repurposes stones from the old wall, combining them with aggregate from the site, limestone, and cement.
Adding a sustainable element to the traditional mortar base, insulating particles of recycled expanded glass have been introduced. Rather than stacking, the wall has been coffered and lifted with a mixed technique that blends elements of adobe and cyclopean wall construction. The exterior layers facing the street are chipped to allow the resurfacing of the stone, while the interior retains the formwork finish, a pleasing contrast of rustic and modern aesthetics.
The thickness of the wall varies, its depth ingeniously accommodating the house’s more static spaces. These spaces, which include bedrooms, bathrooms, laundry area, pantry, and closets, require greater privacy and find a perfect fit within the wall’s depth. In an almost fractal relationship, the project resolves different scales by gradually relating and linking larger spaces until the entire plot is enclosed, creating an intriguing sequence between the more domestic spaces and the more ‘wilder’ exterior areas.
Living Architecture: A Constant Evolution
Linear relationships are incorporated ahead of the more static program attached to the wall, resulting in a long sequence of corridors. These corridors not only absorb solar radiation during winter but can also be fully opened as porches connected to the garden, blurring the line between the indoors and outdoors. The transition between different climates within the building is an ongoing process that evolves throughout the year, marking the design as truly ‘living architecture’.
House 1413 stands as a powerful testament to HARQUITECTES’ visionary approach, embracing the essence of the past while paving the way for architectural innovation. It’s not just a house; it’s a reinterpretation of the essence of an estate manifested through contemporary design solutions.
House 1413 Plans
House 1413 Image Gallery
HARQUITECTES is an architecture firm based in Sabadell, near Barcelona, Spain. The firm was co-founded in 2000 by architects David Lorente, Josep Ricart, Xavier Ros, and Roger Tudó. Known for their innovative, sustainable, and context-responsive architectural designs, HARQUITECTES has worked on a wide range of projects, from single-family homes to educational institutions and public buildings. Their meticulous research into materials and construction techniques emphasizes sustainability and resource efficiency. This attention to detail has led to their recognition with numerous awards, and their work is extensively published.
- Principals: David Lorente, Josep Ricart, Xavier Ros, Roger Tudó
- Collaborators: Montse Fornés, Maya Torres