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    Architecture and Design of Sustainable Houses

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    Generalitat Valenciana

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    Castellón, Comunidad Valenciana (Spain)

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    Building and Urbanism

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    Architecture and Design

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    € 221.000

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    Martín Lejarraga, Architecture Office.

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    Other data:

    2nd Award Competition: Building Pilot for Sustainable Subsidised Houses.

The Second Vicepresident and the Council of Housing and Bioclimatic Architecture, Generalitat Valenciana , through the Directorate General for Ecological Innovation in Construction and in collaboration with the Entital Valenciana d’Habitatge i Sol, promote the tender of several service contracts for project drafting and management for the construction of subsidised houses established as a demonstration of sustainable construction in social, economic and environmental terms, promoting innovation as an essential mechanism to foster the necessary architecture resilience in addition to promoting technology transfer and applied research to achieve the built environment transformation.

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Un Buen Hogar is designed for construction in the Av. Capuchinos building, establishing guidelines and replicable performances for the development of architectural, sustainable and efficient recycling of the whole environment of the building and the city of Castellón. As a demonstrative and experimental building, different strategies are explored to improve the current building and prove that another way of building and living is possible.

This project has been possible thanks to Martin Lejarraga Architecture Office, who worked with us hand in hand, as well as Victor Pérez Sánchez, Zero Energy Consumption and DoF Engineers.

We have to think about replacing waste with nutrients. There are no zero-emission trees, all trees are good for the planet. Michael Braungart, German chemist and creator of the Cradle to Cradle concept.


  • Optimisation – Refurbishment:

The original building is adapted to create a more bio-habitable and resilient environment. The patio and holes on the east façade are enlarged to improve the flow of air currents and natural light. The glazing on the main façade is set back to the line of pillars to protect houses from direct radiation and to use that space like a covered outdoor garden.

This vegetation cushion provides benefits in terms of biophilia and climate control (shading and evaporation) for both the houses’ inhabitants and pedestrians. The insulation and tightness of the enclosure are improved with new carpentry and material layers to renew its features according to energy consumption standards.

  • Activation – Extension:

The new volume rests on the original building, colonises its patio and connects it with the street through an accessible, permeable and safe entrance. The land has a geothermal installation. The complex is energetically activated thanks to a bioclimatic roof that controls the airflow inside the building, sunlight and photovoltaic collection. All added elements are prefabricated and joined together by means of a dry joint process, which makes the construction fast, reversible and recyclable.

The enlarged volume is covered with a ceramic ventilated façade, Km 0, which is fixed to the vernacular architecture of Castellón and has photo-catalytic properties, removing pollutants from the air. The new houses match the original building, maintaining its modularisation into full and empty spaces and generating continuity with its architectural and urban context. The roofs are landscaped, increasing biodiversity, improving thermal and acoustic insulation, and reducing the urban heat island.

Purpose and features of the project

As a demonstrative and experimental building, different strategies are explored to improve the current building and prove that another way of building and living is possible. These are divided in two: the tuning and energy optimisation of the current building and its extension and activation by means of construction methods in accordance with bioconstruction and construction 4.0.
In any case, both groups feedback each other, generating acircular system within the building and prioritising the use and reuse of available resources, as well as the incorporation of new materials of natural and km0 origin.
  • Vegetation and other inhabitants: “Un Buen Hogar” rethinks architecture in order to give a home to non-human inhabitants in the city by generating bio-habitats inside the building.
  • Urban transformation: Un Buen Hogar sustainable district will be part of the network of sustainable recycled buildings in Castellón, forming a sustainable district composed of a set of healthy and positive buildings for the environment and its inhabitants “in the broadest sense of the term”.
  • Residential model: it considers the social contexts and situations that occur in the 21st-century houses, offering a flexible housing solution over time both in the refurbished and extended areas.
  • Circular economy: it uses construction systems and materials that are healthy for its inhabitants and the environment. They are also recyclable, reversible and replicable in other buildings with the same features
  • Active measures: incorporates highly efficient active measures concentrated in the new area but implementing them throughout the whole building.
  • Sustainability: the project increases the sustainability demands of the Tender Dossier, following the new European framework for sustainable building and ecological transition: Level(s).

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