An outdoor room expands the domestic activity of a dark house which is built into the northern face of a volcano. The new carved room has a rectangular floor of the same size as the living room. The main window opens up to a semi-circular courtyard with a pond; it is an opening to the sky, the sun and the moon.This layout expands the space between the house and the mountain, increasing by threefold the number of hours of sunlight. An spherical lamp revolves over the outdoor room.
Sant Pere Màrtir is a public housing neighborhood which was built in the 1950s in Olot (Girona). It is made up of a group of north-facing semi-detached houses with small gardens adapted to the natural topography of a volcano’s hillside. The economic scarcity during the post-war period sharpened the wits of planner Ignasi Bosch and Joaquim Maria Masramon, who built the houses using brick masonry, providing stability through form.
Opening an outdoor room allows expanding domestic activity and bringing more light into the house. It shares the same building systems, materials and language. The curved wall is a recurring feature in the neighbourhood’s development as a solution to the retaining walls, as is the use of brick arches and vaults to cover the buildings. As occurs with the surrounding houses, all wall facings are rough rendered in white cement.
The new outdoor room has a rectangular floor which is similar to the main room and is located next to the kitchen and the dining room. It encompasses an outdoor kitchenette and just like any other room, it has doors and windows. The main window opens onto a semi-circular courtyard which is dug into the mountain. It is an opening to the sky, the sun and the moon; it is a courtyard’s courtyard. This layout expands the space between the house and the mountain slope, increasing by threefold the number of hours of sunlight in the house’s main rooms. The inner pond gathers water from the roof and provides coolness during the summer. The tree and grapevine will gradually take the form of a deciduous roof which will offer a cool and moist atmosphere in the summer and a sunny one during the rest of the year.
At night a main lamp light which responds to three situations: inside the semi-circular window, it tenses the limit between the two spaces – the internal and the external - and it also makes the semi-circular courtyard act as a large reflector light. At the halfway point, in the center of the room, the light crowns the activity by creating an intimate atmosphere around the table. Finally, placed against the wall, the projecting semi-sphere offers a general lighting and highlights the texture of the plastered walls, typical of the houses in the neighborhood. The luminaire becomes an abstract, spherical light – the moon which crosses the courtyard at night. The house regains the sun and the moon.