Low-energy house in Catalonia minimises its footprint to make the most of its site

Alventosa Morell Arquitectes’ low-energy house in Catalonia nestles into the landscape

Casa GE, Spain, a low-energy house by Alventosa Morell Arquitectes
Casa GE, Spain
(Image credit: Adrià Goula)

A new low-energy house by Alventosa Morell Arquitectes is located in the town of Seva in the heart of the Montseny Natural Park, just north of Barcelona. The clients had a sloping triangular plot, located between two streets, on which they wanted to build a modest family house with minimal energy demands and a strong connection to the garden.

Casa GE, a low-energy house in Spain

Casa GE, Spain, by Alventosa Morell Arquitectes, exterior

(Image credit: Adrià Goula)

The architects approached this brief with a two-pronged strategy. First up, the site was surveyed and the best spot picked to place the dwelling – at the highest and flattest point, minimising earthworks, protecting existing trees and maximising the views.

light, wood-lined sloping ceiling inside Casa GE, Spain, by Alventosa Morell Arquitectes

(Image credit: Adrià Goula)

This was combined with the development of a new construction system that could accommodate a shift in the organisation of the internal space, from open plan and ‘diaphanous’ to more intimate and conventionally scaled. The single-storey house has a linear plan, with the bedroom adjoining an office, then a living room, kitchen-diner, and terrace.

End view of Casa GE

(Image credit: Adrià Goula)

All of these principal rooms look south over the gardens, making the most of the site. The sliding glass walls on this façade are interspersed with patterned brickwork, while the public-facing side of the house has a more austere treatment. The simple porch, with its solitary column and flat roof is contrasted with the generous terrace that opens off the kitchen, covered by the oversailing pitched roof.

Entrance to the house

(Image credit: Adrià Goula)

The house is designed to be very simple to run. The south-facing windows provide solar heat in the winter, while staying shaded from the high summer sun. Skylights and sliding doors enable cross-ventilation in the hottest part of the year, while hefty insulation allows the whole house to be heated by a single pellet-burning stove.

exterior of single-storey house, amid trees

(Image credit: Adrià Goula)

Marc Alventosa and Xavier Morell are based in Barcelona. The duo completed their first project in 2007 and have since expanded their office to six people. Low-energy construction is their primary specialism, ensuring that all projects are ‘socially, economically and environmentally responsible’. 

kitchen inside low-energy house, Casa GE, Spain, by Alventosa Morell Arquitectes

(Image credit: Adrià Goula)

Alventosa Morell Arquitectes, alventosamorell.com

Jonathan Bell has written for Wallpaper* magazine since 1999, covering everything from architecture and transport design to books, tech and graphic design. He is now the magazine’s Transport and Technology Editor. Jonathan has written and edited 15 books, including Concept Car Design, 21st Century House, and The New Modern House. He is also the host of Wallpaper’s first podcast.