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Atmospheric Variety: Plywood House by SMS Architects

Atmospheric Variety: Plywood House by SMS Architects

Plywood House by SMS Architects Ph. Luis Diaz Diaz

The Plywood house by SMS Architects (now Feina Studio) is located in a street of townhouses in a quiet neighborhood of Palma, Spain. The need for extending the original ground floor house with a floor above while maintaining its base structure required a lightweight solution not to overload the original stone walls. The architectural intention is to create an atmospheric spatial variety with seasonal use depending on comfort needs. Only the bathrooms and kitchen have a fixed use.

Ph. Luis Diaz Diaz

This project was approached through two parallel lines of research. On the one hand, it explores the possibilities of local manufacturing of plywood elements with a CNC router. On the other hand, it studies the crafts still alive in the island.

The optimization of CNC routing and the structural requirements generate a varied structural geometry that defines ornamental motives. The construction is shown raw, bare, and uncoated, while ornaments allow for a spatial rhythm that decorates the interior. The lack of finishes shows the structural geometry of the ceiling, linking it to the arabesque ornamentation of the old town of Palma. The intervention in the pre-existing structure was done with primary materials: wood, stone, terracotta, all in their raw state.

Starting from an autonomous and de-contextualized structure base, an off-site prefabricated plywood system has been manufactured. Using 244 by 122cm poplar plywood boards, the structure allows for the opportunity to investigate and test a structural system that uses the language of its manufacturing process. By combining the elements of this system, defined by the capabilities of the CNC cut, the system serves as a starting point and can be reproduced in other types of buildings.

The project explores and incorporates local materials and artisans using products with different degrees of industrialization. The project focused on companies such as Huguet, who have been manufacturing concrete tiles for decades in Mallorca and who designed the smooth and playful floor tiles. Special terracotta tiles from Miquel Soler, a traditional manufacturer from Felanitx, have been used on several parts of the façade and pool.

The project establishes various atmospheric zones inside the house. There are rooms with diffused light, with morning light, facing North-East and facing South-West, rooms that look to an interior patio, or rooms with afternoon sun and views of the nearby castle. Some spaces have thermal mass and are cooler in summer, while others with less thermal mass are easily heated in winter, allowing for seasonal migration inside the home.

Ph. Luis Diaz Diaz

DATE: 2017-2018 / LOCATION: Palma, Spain / AREA: 190 m2 (built) / PROGRAM: house / STATUS: built / DESIGN: SMS Architects (Aina Salva, Alberto Sánchez) / PHOTOS: Luis Díaz Díaz

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