Interactive floor plan: House 205
Perched on the edge of a steep canyon in northern Spain, House 205 is the prosaic name assigned to this elegant, low-cost dwelling.
Designed by Barcelona-based H Arquitectes, the form of the project arose out of an examination of the available land. At first, it didn't look promising, but the design team - David Lorente, Josep Ricart, Xavier Ros and Roger Tudó - dug deeper, discovering a layer of rock upon which to anchor the proposed new house.
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With a proper foundation in place, the design potential opened up, allowing the whole structure to be raised above the site on two thick concrete supports. Apart from a slender access road, the concrete supports and a multi-layered wooden deck, Project 205 makes a minimal impact on its surroundings, avoiding the need to dispose of great mounds of earth and - perhaps most importantly of all - preserving a view of the valley and surrounding treetops.
With a relatively modest budget of 200,000 euros to hand, the decision was taken to use a wooden frame and panel construction system. Inside and out, Project 205 is a monumental piece of carpentry, a cosseting, warm environment formed from off-the-shelf laminated panels that form both walls and ceilings. The rectangular plan is simplicity itself, yet still manages to include three bedrooms and two studies alongside the main living area and kitchen. The double-height main study is especially impressive, with a wall of books concealing the wooden staircase that leads to the upper floor.
The overall effect is one of a modest modernism, the plain forms and satisfying proportions conveying an honesty of intention; ultimately the house could be demounted and almost entirely recycled, leaving little trace of its existence. With a well-detailed pine-clad façade, with flush wooden shutters and a concealed flat roof, Project 205 is perfectly at home in its forest surroundings, a low-key dwelling for minimal living.