Gallery: Passive Designed Llorenç House Optimizes the Sun


Located in Mutxamel, Spain, this gorgeous green home designed by Eneseis Arquitectura is half buried into the ground in part to take advantage of passive solar design techniques, but also to provide some privacy from its neighbors. The Llorenç House connects to the public street via a narrow 40 meter long driveway and is surrounded on three sides by other homes, while the fourth side opens up to beautiful mountain views. The Llorenç Home takes advantage of southern orientation, a man-made hill, and rainwater harvesting to create a beautifully sustainable secluded home.

When Eneseis Arquitectura started designing this home, the lot was flat and had little privacy from the surrounding homes. They dug into the lot, created a trench and built the home into the new hillside.  All the dirt was kept on-site and piled up on the perimeter to increase the elevation difference, as the designers didn’t want to waste any gas to take the dirt away. Incidentally, placing a home into a hillside is an excellent way to moderate temperature swings in a home.  This solar passive design technique helps a home stay cooler in the summer and warmer in the winter.

The exterior walls were specifically designed to be thicker in some places, or with cavities and chambers in other to to control the heat gain. The walls were also oriented specifically to optimize the sun and the heat gain. Natural ventilation plays a big role in temperature regulation as well, drawing air in from cooler places like the garden to keep the courtyard and home cool in the hot summer months.

The pool offers a refreshing respite from the heat and is fed partially by rainwater collected from the roof. The garden also utilizes water that is treated and stored via the rainwater harvesting system. The rooms inside were placed specifically to take advantage of the sun or buried to be next to the cool earthen wall. The sleeping rooms were placed on the half-buried, lower floor so they would remain cooler.

Movement and flow were key design elements for the architects, whether that movement was people, air or the sun. The whole house is wheel-chair accessible, even the sunbathing courtyard and pool.

+ Eneseis Arquitectura


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  1. dian0x June 25, 2010 at 11:31 pm

    this is great… this really have inspired me. thanks!

  2. 3stylelife January 31, 2009 at 12:08 pm

    Great design! I wonder how much the ground acts as an insulator for the bottom floor, saving on energy costs?

  3. catherinedcollins January 30, 2009 at 1:45 pm

    This house is incredible, putting green as it’s first and foremost priority. The ‘solar passive design’ seems to be the way to go as it is a win-win situation, keeping the house warm in the winter and cool in the summer. Despite the rigidity of the modern lines that make up the exterior structure, you’re right, there is a great deal of movement and balance that makes this home fascinating!

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