BATHYARD HOME for a woman, her family and her plants:
How do you respond to the everyday needs of a family, taking into account their singularities and offering micro solutions for an apartment that was climatically inefficient and dark but full of possibilities, whilst making a minimum number of structural changes?
Bathyard home is an energetically rehabilitated 130m2 apartment in a residential building dating from 1900, organized around a new socio-bioclimatic domestic space: the Bathyard. It has been designed by Husos Architects and built by Atipical and Husos for a woman, her family and her plants. After several years of living in the suburbs with her sons, who have now grown up and are about to leave home, she decided to return to a central location in Madrid. She dreamed of having a spacious bathroom, the possibility of bringing with her some of the plants she had had in her former house, and a living room where she could share, among other things, long cinema and TV sessions together with her sons.
While responding to specific desires and needs, Bathyard home becomes a testing ground for thinking over the relationship between the home space and the narrow, interior patios or light wells commonly present in residential buildings in dense, Mediterranean cities such as Madrid. These spaces are currently undervalued, but ones that could instead gain a new and relevant climatic and social dimension.
Before rehabilitation, the apartment was energy-inefficient and dark, almost completely facing north and west, with the exception of one window that gave onto an interior patio. The latter was the only one facing south, the most favorable orientation climatically, but it was wasted on a corridor and storage area. The original apartment was transformed by introducing a few changes in the partition walls while maintaining the original structure intact. With simple modifications, the project reoriented a large part of the house to the south. This was achieved by creating a new type of space inside the house: a bathyard, a space that generates a new “exterior” inside the apartment and lends passive thermal and light comfort to the entire home. The bathyard is a space whose character can be negotiated and altered by the users by sliding transparent partitions and opening out a folding bench. It is a place where different activities can overlap and be shared, such as trying on clothes, enjoying breakfast, or having a conversation while one is taking a bath and the other is sitting on the folding bench. And of course, it can also be the setting of a glorious solitary bath experience.
Between the bathtub space and a more private room with shower and toilet, facing the south window, there is a small greenhouse, equipped with a drip irrigation system, which accommodates different types of ferns, rubber plants, philodendrons and marantas, among others. It is the only space in the flat where underfloor heating was not installed, in order to prevent drying out the atmosphere of the garden. Instead, the garden is heated by its contact with the other spaces in the apartment and by direct exposure to sunlight through the window.
Its strategic location between two humid spaces - the shower and bathtub rooms - contributes to a more humid environment for the vegetation. The central position of this space within the flat facilitates cross-ventilation and the enjoyment of a new landscape facing south. The new bathyard distribution and the insulation of the facade walls, floor slabs and ceilings help to maintain the apartment at 18°C to 20°C in most winter days without switching on the newly installed underfloor heating system.
The wooden-framed, movable partitions have different degrees of transparency: some have semi-reflective screens, which are strategically positioned with surprising effects, for instance reflecting the sunlight towards the master bedroom in the morning. You can also see the reflected images of the bathtub among the plants at different angles from the living space through an oculus.
The construction of this oculus, making use of a preexisting hole in the load-bearing wall that once formed part of cabinet, connects the bathyard with the living and dining spaces visually and climatically. A golden curtain, and a screen on the oculus control airflow and light, help to adjust the atmosphere in the living room and adapt it to spending time watching films and TV, depending on the wishes of the mother and her sons, thus connecting or separating the different social spaces in the house. ///
Design by Husos Architects: Diego Barajas and Camilo García Collaborators: Martín Orbea (intern) and Rebeka Nemeth
Installations design and quantity surveying: Atipical (Daniel Jabonero, Ángela Ruiz) Construction: Atipical (Daniel Jabonero) and Husos (Camilo García)
Structural consultants: Mecanismo S.L. and Eugenio Cuesta Carpentry: Verticales Forme Electrical installations: Divitec Photography and video: Imagen Subliminal (Miguel de Guzmán y Rocío Romero) English text revision: Medina Whiteman