The Bioclimatic House by Ruiz Larrea and Associates has a wind farm right in its back yard, so when it came to the design, high winds had to be accounted for. Located next the to wind park of Granadilla at the Instituto Tecnologico y de Energias Renovables, the home is one of 25 Bioclimatic Houses incorporated into the research center. Ruiz Larrea’s design competition-winning home was inspired by Geria – a traditional way of growing grapes in Lanzarote by protecting the fruit from the strong and continuous winds with a semicircular wall of volcanic rock. The home is surrounded and shielded by a circular wall of volcanic Tosca stone, and has no heating or air conditioning, relying completely on passive strategies to keep the interior warm or cool depending on the season. Insulation, weatherproofing, and thermal mass all help to retain or remove heat when necessary. Natural ventilation provided by cross breezes, the stack effect, and louvered openings encourages air to move through the house.
Slightly sunk into the earth and protected by the wall, the home enjoys a sheltered life while maintaining views of the landscape. The top of the house is covered by a living bridge made from a concrete slab filled with soil and native creepers. The plants are kept well watered by a drip irrigation system, and evapotranspiration helps remove heat from the house. Rainwater is harvested and collected in a 2,000 litre cistern for use as grey water. The home has also been outfitted with components for a solar system on the south side of the house. Finally, local materials including Tosca stone and crushed basalt were used for thermal insulation.
Images ©Ruiz Larrea and Associates