I’ve blogged about a handful of green prefabricated homes — mostly vacation retreats — over the past several weeks and although they all boast unique qualities that help them stand out from the pack, if I had to assign each a single descriptor it would look something like this:
You get the point. Then there’s Prefabricated Nature, a country home in the northwest of Spain that doesn’t quite fit into the “makes-a-studio apartment-in-Manhattan’s-East-Village-look-palatial” category like some of these other wee prefab homes do.
Instead of petiteness, Prefabricated Nature by MYCC Architects is notable for efficiency and speed. After being assembled and dissembled in a Madrid factory in under three months, the home’s “pieces” (the structure is composed of six modules each measuring 6 meters long and 3 meters wide) were then transported by truck 700 kilometers to an isolated seaside site in Cedeira. Once at the location, the home was assembled again with the help of a crane in just three days; “touch-ups” took another two weeks.
The house is located on a steep slope, in a remote location in the northeast corner of the Iberian Peninsula, an area dominated by the imposing presence of the ocean and the slender forest of eucalyptus trees surrounding it. The terrain is surrounded by harvest fields, family farms and pitched roof houses. This image, protected by the area’s building codes, determined the geometry of the house that, simplified up to the point of evoking the basic house, was conceived as an autonomous piece that sits as a landscape observer and that speaks, with new terms, about the traditional language of the place. The volume was wrapped with two materials with the purpose of setting up a dialogue with the landscape. The roof and the side facades were covered with Viroc®, a prefabricated mixture of cement and wood shavings that, because of its gray color, recalls the wood of eucalyptus trees. This fibercement has a great strength efficiency in spite of being light and, therefore, is easy to maintain and move. The two main facades of the house were clad with perforated Cor-ten trays following the schematized image of a forest silhouette, recreating the image of the surrounding vegetation. This material was chosen because it is part of the local tradition of fishing towns like Cedeira, used for the construction of boat hulls, and the gradual and controlled oxidation of which gives the material self-protecting qualities. Its patina and changing color create a lively image that relates with the natural environment. This interplay between the natural and the artificial also benefits the interior spaces, where the light that crosses through these silhouettes casts shadows of trees in the different rooms.