In this first stage, the catalogue focuses on the modern and contemporary architecture designed and built between 1832 –year of construction of the first industrial chimney in Barcelona that we establish as the beginning of modernity– until today.
The project is born to make the architecture more accessible both to professionals and to the citizens through a website that is going to be updated and extended. Contemporary works of greater general interest will be incorporated, always with a necessary historical perspective, while gradually adding works from our past, with the ambitious objective of understanding a greater documented period.
The collection feeds from multiple sources, mainly from the generosity of architectural and photographic studios, as well as the large amount of excellent historical and reference editorial projects, such as architectural guides, magazines, monographs and other publications. It also takes into consideration all the reference sources from the various branches and associated entities with the COAC and other collaborating entities related to the architectural and design fields, in its maximum spectrum.
Special mention should be made of the incorporation of vast documentation from the COAC Historical Archive which, thanks to its documental richness, provides a large amount of valuable –and in some cases unpublished– graphic documentation.
The rigour and criteria for selection of the works has been stablished by a Documental Commission, formed by the COAC’s Culture Spokesperson, the director of the COAC Historical Archive, the directors of the COAC Digital Archive, and professionals and other external experts from all the territorial sections that look after to offer a transversal view of the current and past architectural landscape around the territory.
The determination of this project is to become the largest digital collection about Catalan architecture; a key tool of exemplar information and documentation about architecture, which turns into a local and international referent, for the way to explain and show the architectural heritage of a territory.
We kindly invite you to help us improve the dissemination of Catalan architecture through this space. Here you can propose works and provide or amend information on authors, photographers and their work, along with adding comments. The Documentary Commission will analyze all data. Please do only fill in the fields you deem necessary to add or amend the information.
The Arxiu Històric del Col·legi d'Arquitectes de Catalunya is one of the most important documentation centers in Europe, which houses the professional collections of more than 180 architects whose work is fundamental to understanding the history of Catalan architecture. By filling this form, you can request digital copies of the documents for which the Arxiu Històric del Col·legi d'Arquitectes de Catalunya manages the exploitation of the author's rights, as well as those in the public domain. Once the application has been made, the Arxiu Històric del Col·legi d'Arquitectes de Catalunya will send you an approximate budget, which varies in terms of each use and purpose.
The plot is in a low-density residential area where houses with gardens predominate, the slope was gentle and continuous with good sunshine throughout the day. Urban planning regulations allowed building more than necessary, being able to build a ground floor and two additional landings with the main restriction of separating 6 metres from the alignment of the road and 3 metres from the rest of the boundaries.
The project was based on the restriction provided by the geotechnical study which indicated that the first metres of underground had a very low resistance capacity. In order to avoid a solution with a deep foundation, economically and environmentally unviable, it was necessary to profoundly rethink the organization of the house and its construction systems. We needed a very light construction or alternatively a construction that distributed the loads very evenly on the ground. The option of light construction was ruled out due to cost and above all because at the same time we believed it necessary to have the maximum internal thermal inertia to guarantee the best passive comfort, therefore the first decision was to make a house only on the ground floor avoiding load accumulations concentrated in one area of the land. The second is to use beams instead of sanitary ware to transmit the weight of the pavements and the overloads of use directly to the ground without going through the foundations. The third is to use a linear structural system, in this case load-bearing walls, that distribute the loads from the roof to the ground as much as possible. The fourth, to organise these structural walls in a completely regular way, in the form of an equidistant grid, so that the walls and foundations collect the same proportional part of the load of the building and guarantee a sufficiently homogeneous descent along the terrain. This organisation allowed the project to be pushed to the limit, adjusting to the maximum and overloading the land to its limit to achieve the heaviest possible house that had the maximum mass (inertia) allowed by the land.
That the house was developed entirely on the ground floor, allowed it to be built with a simple technology of load-bearing walls with short spans, giving an optimal structural response to the characteristics of the land and above all allowing to adjust to the costs foreseen for its execution.
Although the plot was already quite flat, the earth from the foundation excavations was used to finish flattening the perimeter garden at the level of the house, enhancing the interior-exterior continuity to the maximum. The freed volume under the sill was refilled with a thick bed of gravel creating a thermal accumulator with a lot of inertia that pre-treats the renewal air so that in winter the intake air is heated to cross the gravels and cools it in the summer. It was always attempted that the resolution of a problem became, at the same time, an occasion to introduce other improvements to the project.
The program is distributed in ten equivalent spaces of 3.5 x 5.12. The versatility of these 18m2 and the generous relationships between them offers, surprisingly, a lot of freedom at the same time to organise the uses and allows us to imagine that the house can be used in many different ways over the years, creating rooms that can be understood as segregated or as a single large continuous space. They are spaces configured directly by the structure and by its materiality; unclad, combining ceramic brick load-bearing walls, the concrete floor and ceramic revolute roofs. All materials are structural and therefore essential for the construction of a living space. An attempt was made to solve an architecture that emerged from the minimal and necessary, avoiding superfluous elements but at the same time suggesting the maximum possible use potential. The house is just an infrastructure where users can choose the best way to appropriate it.
The house was oriented and distributed internally with a predominant south-east direction to enhance direct winter solar capture, easily protect itself from the summer sun, while protecting the main garden from the dominant north-west winds and stimulating some better cross ventilation inside the house. The need for good sun protection in the summer was a good opportunity to work intensively with the vegetation creating a vertical garden, a transition between interior and exterior, between the mineral element and the plants. In this case, the vegetation works by reproducing the interior grid in the form of small deciduous vegetable chapels that, without constituting a complete exterior room, will create a stationary over-thickness that, superimposed on the ceramic construction, will prevent the summer sun from overheating the house These small chapels are organised from wooden slats that, like guardians, guide the climbers by tracing and protecting each of the openings in the house.
Given that the house has a lot of mass and therefore a lot of thermal inertia, if the user does night ventilation and uses the gravel bed correctly, excellent summer thermal comfort can be ensured without the need for air conditioning.
The construction is intentionally low and elongated so that it takes on slim proportions that, together with the transverse openings and the plant solar protection, minimise the impact and integrate the presence of the construction within the plot so that one has the experience that the house is not an addition, which is very permeable and is fully connected to the garden from outside to inside, from inside to outside, from side to side. The house and the garden would like to be one and the same thing, so that when you live there you have the feeling of living and using the whole plot.