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RETHINKING ARCHITECTURE. CREATING A PLATFORM FOR ARCHITECTS & STUDENTS TO EXPLORE THEIR CREATIVITY

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THE BRIEF

This design challenge asks for a 2-person sleeping pod that can be suspended on a cliff face or balance on a mountain ridge. The fully sustainable and self sufficient design should provide a comfortable, safe space to sleep 2 people and a dog.

 

The design will provide a connection between humans and nature and considers its impact on the surroundings including construction, materiality, ecology and views.

THE SITE

Tavertet is a small mountain village at the top of the Guilleries Natural Park, nestled within the Catalan Pre-Pyrenees mountains. The Pre-Pyrenees consist of large groups of low, undulating mountains at the base of the much taller, much sharper Pyrenees, which create a natural border between Spain, France and Andorra.

 

The village of Tavertet is extremely well taken care of by its (just over) 100 citizens. The older buildings are well preserved and the newer buildings pay tribute to the ancient architecture the village hosts.

 

The Tavertet region is home to remains of a 12th century castle, and most of the town's historic centre was erected in the 17th and 18th centuries. The historic centre is now listed as a Site of Cultural Interest.

1st PRIZE

HARMONÍA EN LAS ALTURAS

O•REM

Emanuele Cipolla, Raúl López Andrés, Manuel Splendore

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Winner Sau

THE WINNING DESIGN SCHEME

HARMONÍA EN LAS ALTURAS

 

The project aims to create a closer and stronger relationship with the surrounding nature, where the harmony of all the parts in its context makes it unique among the Spanish mountains. The concept is centered around a suspended pod, which has been positioned to optimize solar energy usage and create an intimate connection with the Tavertet cliff.


The orientation of the project is carefully considered to maximize energy efficiency. The utilization of amorphous solar panels on the roof and the integration of passive ventilation into the design, allows for the pod to operate with minimal environmental impact. The strategic placement of the pod also provides stunning views towards the landscape of Guilleries and Tavertet, further enriching the connection with the surrounding nature.


The objective of the project is to recreate the forms that are inherent to the identity of the location, placing nature before human intervention. This will initiate a rediscovery process of the natural environment, which will result in not only benefiting nature but also enhancing the economic sustainability of Tavertet and its surrounding cities, with more responsible tourism.

The unique shape of the pod is inspired by the barrel vaults of ancient structures, while its catenary form not only nods to the Catalan modernist architecture of Gaudí, but also serves a functional purpose. The shape facilitates the management of rainwater, collecting it in a collector beneath the floor, ensuring a constant availability of water.


The project prioritizes sustainability, using locally sourced materials and incorporating a prefabrication and standardization approach. The construction process is efficient, requiring a single day to complete it, making the most of the materials present in the surrounding nature such as earth, stones, dry straw, and wood. The project presents a load-bearing structure made up of two main materials: wood and rammed earth. The two materials work together and at the same time have been contrasted to help balance the overhang and to create a philosophical contrast between ground connection and lightweight in the cantilever part. The design also emphasizes eco-sustainability, utilizing recycled polycarbonate materials.


The project is grounded in a deep respect for nature, supported by six steel pillars that minimally impact the surrounding environment. The design aims to create a stronger bond between the pod and nature, providing a space for reflection and connection with the unspoiled beauty of the surrounding landscape.


In addition to its environmental sustainability and its harmonious relationship with the surrounding environment, the design of the pod also prioritizes the comfort and well-being of its occupants. The orientation of the pod has been carefully considered to make the best use of solar energy, and the design incorporates passive ventilation, allowing for a comfortable and healthy living environment.

In conclusion, the project is providing a sustainable, comfortable, and harmonious living environment that is intimately connected to the surrounding landscape and rich cultural heritage. It offers a space for reflection, connection with nature, and a sense of place, providing an unparalleled experience in one of the most beautiful regions of Spain.