Excerpt: Within the framework of a recently created urbanization that is destroying a part of this heritage, Casa de les Porxades designed by ENDALT Arquitectes is conceptualised with the intention of recovering and giving meaning to the architecture of the past in the region in which it is built while taking ques from sustainability and landscape integration of vernacular architecture with a contemporary vision and language.
[Text as submitted by architect] The destruction of l’Horta of València, one of the main cultural and environmental values of the metropolitan area of the city, has been a constant in our territory. Within the framework of a recently created urbanization that is destroying a part of this heritage, Casa de les Porxades is born with the intention of recovering and giving meaning to the architecture of the past in the territory on which it is built while taking advantage of the lessons of sustainability and landscape integration of vernacular architecture from a contemporary vision and language.
Formally, the house follows the path of the alquerías, rural houses linked to an agricultural exploitation, that we find a few meters from this urbanization surrounded by orchards; buildings composed of a main two-sided volume to which other volumes with diverse geometries are attached: with sloping roofs, flat roofs, porches, etc. This also gives off an air of organic growth characteristic of traditional architecture.
The house is named after its cantilevered porches, a Mediterranean element that creates filters between the interior and exterior space. These porches play a fundamental role in the project, as the owners’ desire was to enjoy a shaded terrace for the summer that would not be impractical on rainy days. Thus, it was decided to reference those porches of traditional architecture in the area but extend the floors of the house toward the outside. Their dimensions and southeast orientation help protect the interior from excessive solar radiation in summer but allow it to penetrate the house in winter.
This is one of the bioclimatic strategies of the house, which bets on passive solutions that help to climatize the house throughout the year naturally, minimizing energy consumption. For the openings on the upper floor, the strategy is different, since in addition to the need to generate shade to control the incidence of solar radiation on the glass, there is also the need for privacy and visual control. Therefore, another element of the place is used: the alicantinas blinds.
The house is organized around a small interior patio, which evokes the significance and social function of Wright’s chimneys, and to which all the socialization spaces turn. Spaces rethought for contemporary living where Mediterranean culture is also reflected in their use. The kitchen, for example, takes on an indisputable role and ceases to be a residual space, hosting a multitude of activities linked to both the living areas and the terraces and patio. In this case, an outdoor meeting space, a visual reference from the interior thanks to its privileged location in the house, also has an important climatic function. Its height and the disposition of the tilt-and-turn windows in the upper part of the openings make this space act by convection, cooling the house in a passive way.
Ceramics, as a traditional material, becomes the protagonist, contrasting its color, geometry, and the play of light it creates in its application on the ground floor with the flatness and neatness of the volumes on the first floor. Thus, the project is based on what is nearby, on construction systems and materials known by the builders of the place. It avoids complex solutions and takes refuge in the experience of those who must build it.