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ArchitectsDAVID TAPIAS, NÚRIA SALVADÓ

CollaboratorJOSEP ANGLÈS

LocationMONTCLAR

ForPRIVATE

BuilderPACO GUART

Years2008-2011

PhotographDAVID TAPIAS

Weekend Habitat, Dwelling in a Garage

A former self-built, illegal garage, humid and dark, had been slowly transformed into a weekend house. Around it, a big garden and a magnificent outlook over the distant Mediterranean. It was necessary to improve the inhabitability conditions of this existing structure, while building a new one on top, with a bed, a bath, and a big space to enjoy the views alone or with friends -all within a very tight budget.

Montclar is a former ilegal rural suburban lot. It is placed near Riudecanyes, on the beginning of the slope that slowly elevates over el Camp. It has overwhelming views over the whole territory and the Mediterranean sea in the horizon. Most of the houses are self-built. Others are poorly designed by architects and then built even more poorly. As some of our territories encampments, a beautiful land destroyed by careless men showing fascinating imagination and a lack of love for the vegetal and mineral world -careless lives and careless actions full of love, despair and expectations. Weekend enclaves where smokes from barbeques and pantagruelic feasts populate the pine filled hills.

An old, self-built, ilegal garage on a former ilegal rural suburb. The owner had bought it very cheap on a bank auction. He had installed in it a kitchen, and he spent his weekends and summer holidays there. Now he wanted some more space, with better conditions. He had some savings from an accident compensation he had just received, so he wanted to invest them in his weekend habitat. The existing structure was not only a foundation for the new extension, but a big cool air cushion that could be used as a costless temperature regulator. As in many of our commissions, the budget was very low, so it was easier to stick to the standard domestic necessities -a roof, thermal insulation, ventilation, water and electricity-, giving each element more than one function.  The garden had some big pine trees. Instead of cutting them, we could use them as big shades for  summer. It also had some lousy walls and stairs which we could just clean and slightly repair.

The quality of this place is its outdoors. Its views to the Mediterranean and el Camp. The existing structures, however clumsy they might look, are solid. Its self-built amateur nature, full of irregularities, suggests that a similar construction system should be used, to adapt to all these little accidents. The low budget is a clear restriction that helps us to look for solutions that are cheap in material and labor, using single-layer strategies that work as structure, humidity regulator, thermal insulation and inertia giver.

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As a consequence of our search as architects, we also produce understanding and knowledge made of words -written and spoken. This search revolves around twelve constant themes, questions we don’t have a definitive answer to yet. This knowledge is not just a by-product of our activity, but rather an instrumental part that develops simultaneously and is imbricated in building. Search Questions is our sisyphean effort to organize and share this knowledge while it's blossoming, fragile and unstable. By doing so, a more specific understanding, and more refined questions emerge.

BOOK
1. Pequeñas Cabañas BIY

An exploration on children's innate drive and ability to build, and some huts that they can build together with grown-ups. Published by Editorial Gustavo Gili.

Speech
2. Endless beginnings

Graduation Ceremony. AAA. Aarhus, Denmark. September 2020.

Journal paper
3. OE House

ARQ 94. Universidad Católica de Chile. With Cristina Goberna and Urtzi Grau.

Paper
4. Open Process Ecosystems

Beyond Product Platforms for multi-storey habitats design and manufacturing. With Duncan Maxwell.

Article
5. Subrural

An incipient theory of the subrural, first published in Catalan in AT magazine, edited by Nuria Casais and Ferran Grau.