Twins Unit

Twins Unit

Location: Griñón, Spain.

Year: 2011.

Client: Bristaun.

Status: In progress.

Press: El País, 2011, Patricia Gosálvez.

Regeneration exercise for urbanized lands not yet built in Griñon (Madrid). According to the current regulations, the creation of a new temporary model of appropriation of the territory is proposed, generating quality public space, providing a new green infrastructure and developing a series of hybrid program housing units: office / commercial on the lower floor and housing in upper floor.

The first project decision establishes a single common ground, a ‘garden’ of 2,000 Sqm in which the housing units are located. An artificial topography is generated based on excavations and fillings which it is about to achieve: 1. Generate a private area under the house, a depressed enclosure below the zero level of the plot (this open space will serve as a place for games and parking); 2. Reach the foundation level based on prefabricated concrete elements recoverable through an intervention of landscape order; 3. Bury the common facilities: biomass boiler, sewage treatment plant and prefabricated duct network as part of a passive air conditioning system by air-ground heat exchange; 4. Noise isolation from the adjacent road; 5. Protect the housing units from the predominating southwesterly winds; 6.Protect from the views coming from the street and chalets towards the houses; 7. Generate an inner own landscape located inside a monotonous and characterless environment combining low quality public space and contemporary residences of false traditional looking. At the same time, the landscape ecology principles and landscape architecture, establish the necessary flexible conditions for the management of radiation, wind, noise, views, water, CO2, etc.; 8. Generate a sports track around the large common plot (4 laps = 1km); 9. Generate natural ‘bowls’ for the retention of rainwater for reuse; 10. Avoid any wasted soil to be transported to landfill.

The second project decision consists of establishing a completely industrialized and removable construction system of soft or ‘low-tech’ technology, a mobile piece with flexible distribution and common facilities for two or four housing units at this first stage. To do that, it is disposed: 1. Structure made of recycled containers of standard sizes (2.44 x 7.90m), elevated on ‘V’ columns, shaping a two-storey construction. The containers move in plant following the direction of the plot with the aim of generating a southern front of adequate dimension to the necessary radiation exposure during winter. The structure is completed at this point generating new space as a greenhouse or bioclimatic gallery; 2. Specialized thermal enclosure: double skin based on a large wave metal sandwich panel and vertical cut-out towards the exterior, 5cm regulated ventilation chamber, 20cm rock wool insulation and OSB wood interior panel, plasterboard or polycarbonate. The waves of the outer sheet, always in light colors, produce a linear shading effect on the East and West facades during the summer. The constructive solution of the ‘low-cost’ industrialized thermal enclosure, typical of warehouses and supermarkets, is coherence with the proposal of reused structures. As a single interruption, an access element is proposed as a windbreak, which contains a double door, allowing the continuity of the double skin in this access point; 3. Passive strategies become the architectural expression and spatial experience of the housing unit: limitation of energy demand through the thermal enclosure; green roofs; greenhouse just behind the South façade equipped with double glass skin and exterior slats system; cross ventilation between North and South facades; protection of the South façades by native deciduous trees; passive air conditioning through underground passive geothermal system and air-ground heat exchange; evaporative cooling through vegetation; 4. Contribution of renewable energies: installation of urban wind turbine donQi 1,75KW and biomass boiler (pellets) for two or four houses; power station for electric vehicles in lower garden level; 5. Facilities efficiency: the use of high performance equipment is pursued, obtaining a coverage of 95% of the energetic demand; 6. Resource management: reuse of rainwater and purification of clean water; separative sewage network; location of garbage cans for the selective separation of waste; 7. Flexibility: the housing unit is divided into three levels, the lower garden (-1.20m) belongs to the exterior landscape and is configured as a private element for games and parking of vehicles; the lower and first floors can be segmented and untied thanks to the position of the staircase next to the access door, favouring the concurrence of living and working in a single volume as well as the management of a multitude of unpredictable situations over time; 8. Views: from the upper levels of the housing unit you can enjoy the excellent southern views, contemplating the distant horizon of cultivated fields and hiding the cars of the adjacent road thanks to the topography and green strategy; 9. Maintenance: systems, materials, plants and minimum maintenance gardening are used; facilities below the housing units, integrated in the false ceiling accessible from the garden level; 10. Selective disassembly plan: the house can be dismantled as a whole and transported easily, incorporating the items inside the six structural containers.