Sustainable Stone Ruins

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Zero-Energy/sustainable/off-the-grid living has gained popularity in the past decade. The idea of living off of a cities power structure and maintaining a very low carbon footprint is widely appealing to many, and for those with the financial means, the options are becoming ever more unique. Take Laura Álvarez Architecture’s new …

Zero-Energy/sustainable/off-the-grid living has gained popularity in the past decade. The idea of living off of a cities power structure and maintaining a very low carbon footprint is widely appealing to many, and for those with the financial means, the options are becoming ever more unique.

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Take Laura Álvarez Architecture’s new project, for instance, Villa Slow. This vacation home has been built using existing ruins found in the natural park of Valles Pasiegos, Spain. The villa’s design inspiration derived solely from the traditional cabaña pasiega – a barn styling popular in the Cantabrian mountains, with an added modern minimalist twist.

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The house has been lined with high-quality insulation to cool in the summer and remain warm in the winter, an air-heating pump which produces energy for the home, as well as design components to maximize overall energy absorption from the natural environment around. Unlike North America’s laws regarding this type of home-building, being connected to the power grid in Spain is required. With the transferral of energy absorbed from the air-heating pump, the home produces 5 kilowatts to 1 kilowatt provided by the grid, making it zero-energy.

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Taking a look at the building materials of the house, a wooden-slate roof and large wooden shudder were placed for cooling in the summer, while high-performance glass windows help warm the majority of the space in the winter time. All wood used throughout the house was sourced and crafted by local carpentry Company, Carpinteria Astillero in the same region of Spain as well. The furniture is of vintage origin which gives a nice juxtaposition to the light, airiness of the entirety of the space. Along with the large dining and relaxation area, the house features a large open-ended bedroom with a loft space for an added area for rest.

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Overall this European getaway home is a design dream come true. Zero-Energy living is a dream for most due to cost and accessibility, but with Earth Day in mind this week I hope that many living inside and outside of urban areas begin to think more about the footprint they are leaving behind. Architectural initiatives as such are a great start to a cleaner future for all of us.

Photo Credits : David Montero
Architect: Laura Álvarez Architecture
Contractor: SOAL Inversiones
Carpentry: Carpinteria Astillero