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Sunbathed small wooden studio in calm forest near Barcelona

Tasked with building a tiny studio in the hills outside Barcelona, architect Pablo Serrano Elorduy created an all-wooden shelter stunning in its simplicity, efficient thanks to smart design.

The orientation takes advantage of Spanish sun for heating: large windows open the South side to winter sun; protective shading blocks direct summer sun. Serrano cut small windows into the North side (even though the steep hillside blocks any views) so that temperature and pressure differences produce natural cross ventilation and cooling during summer months.

Prefab construction assured minimal waste of building materials and more importantly, provided a continuous layer of insulation (natural biodegradable wood fiber with an extra breathable layer to minimize internal condensation). By eliminating thermal bridges, the home is up to 80% more efficient in climate control than a conventional build.

The building’s timber was sourced from the Catalan Pyrenees (just 2 hours away) from PEFC- certified forests. The exterior is finished in autoclaved-treated fir wood, the interior finishes are 3-layered plywood and pine, with the non-visible stuff (e.g. backs of cabinets) a more affordable OSB.

The studio is just 76 square meters (818 square feet), but the open plan makes the space feel large. Currently it’s being used as an office for two, but, complete with wooden bathroom and shower (lacking only a kitchen), it was built to be easily transformed into a small home.

Water is captured from the roof and surrounding pavement and stored in 7 water tanks (holding up to 10 cubic meters of water) which is used for watering the very large, organic kitchen garden lower on the hill.