“Playing” with volumes and color contrasts, Marta González Arquitectos designed a 600 square-meter residence with highly modern features in Madrid, Spain. Vivienda Gago displays the architects’ inclination towards horizontal development. The main objective of the project (that of taking full advantage of the surrounding natural elements) was achieved with the help of generous windows in every single room of the house. With a striking white stone finish, the main level contrasts the bottom floor, a visually intriguing black base, opening up towards the garden perimeter. The double-height living room is probably the most spectacular interior of the residence and is connected with the outside porch and garden. A black and white color palette sets an elegant tone for the design. With plenty of lounge space, a generous dining table, a large bar table and an all-equipped kitchen, this place is an open invite to socializing. [Photography by Marta González]
Energy during the construction process was saved by using FSC-certified glulam timber instead of steel to create the building’s distinctive wavy roof, while the store’s external walls use hemclad, a highly innovative insulator made from hemp, which, like all plants, absorbs CO2 from the atmosphere as it grows. An 80,000 litre water tank below ground provides water for the store’s toilets and waters the site’s green wall’, which provides natural insulation, acts as an all-natural pollution filter near the car park, and helps to encourage biodiversity. The result is a building that uses a fraction of the energy of structures of a similar size, and is still very popular with local shoppers.
Value for money is not, and never was, the same as being cheap. Value for money means making the most of whatever budget is available. A good example of this is Hayes Primary School in London, by Hayhurst and Co. Having to contend with a tightly controlled 3 million local authority budget, they worked with the existing structure of the primary school to give it a much needed update. A striking polished stainless steel brise-soleil facade installed at the school’s entrance, gives the school’s many different buildings a sense of identity, while new classrooms have been created in a range of shapes and sizes, and are often flooded with natural light