Natural stone offcuts can be used to build walls just like bricks, as shown by architect Pepa Díaz and the company Rosalstones

Architect Pepa Díaz and natural stone company Rosal Stones: Albamiel House.Architect Pepa Díaz and natural stone company Rosal Stones: Albamiel House.

The residential building in the Spanish fishing village of Bolnuevo combines industrial construction with sustainability, from the choice of building material to energy consumption

The idea is actually obvious, but it took Spanish architect Pepa Díaz to put it into practice: in a new residential building in the fishing village of Bolnuevo on Spain’s Mediterranean coast, natural stone the size of common bricks was used to build walls. The principle is ground-breaking for sustainable building, and establishes a link between industrial building and a 100% natural construction material.

The architect came up with the idea of using natural stone to replace man-made bricks during a visit to the natural stone company Rosalstones: she saw the piles of waste pieces of their Albamiel sandstone there and thought that these materials of nature should not just be left lying around unused or dumped back in the quarry.

We have described the technical details in a separate post https://www.stone-ideas.com/98188/natural-stone-instead-of-man-made-bricks/.

Architect Pepa Díaz and natural stone company Rosal Stones: Albamiel House.

It is important to know that Pepa Díaz follows certain principles in her conception of architecture. In essence, she is concerned that people feel comfortable in the houses and apartments, which also means that the building materials have no harmful effects and, just as in their production, cause as little impact on the environment as possible.

Also: during the operation of the house, the energy consumption should be as low as possible. The Albamiel House is a zero-energy building.

Finally: according to Pepa Díaz, both materials and architecture should have a relationship with the location, that is, promote the identification of the citizens with their home. Thus the
Albamiel sandstone comes from a quarry in Caravaca, only 106 km from the fishing village; inside the house and on the exterior facades, it is an important design element.

The architect speaks of a “haptic close architecture: the sandstone allows the eye to penetrate its surface, making it possible for us to see for ourselves the truth of the matter. When touching it, the hand reads the texture, the weight, the density and the temperature of the matter.“

The spaces on the 3 floors are open plan. However, quiet zones provide opportunities for residents to retreat.

The openness allows a wide view of the sea and also cross ventilation through the building. It is one of the ways to achieve bearable living conditions without air conditioning in the south.

Architect Pepa Díaz and natural stone company Rosal Stones: Albamiel House.

Shading is another option: it is practiced at the front of the house, where the windows are set back, so there are cool dream balconies on the upper floors for sea views.

Architect Pepa Díaz and natural stone company Rosal Stones: Albamiel House.

Pepa Díaz lives with her family in the house. Her office is on the first floor. The inside wall facing the street is covered with rough stones: they are left over from the old fisherman’s house. The former doors and windows of the first floor are indicated in the facade. They can also be seen which at the neighboring house.

Architect Pepa Díaz and natural stoen company Rosal Stones: Albamiel House.

The parking lot on the first floor is designed as a flexible space: if necessary, it can be used for open-air workshops or group meetings.

On the floor above are the bedrooms, and again above that the living room, both designed to allow cross-ventilation.

The elevator opens into the tower on the roof.

As already indicated, materials play a special role in Pepa Díaz’s architecture. Stone and pine wood alternate on the walls with white plaster.

The architect made creative use of the fact that the natural stone used was originally pieces of waste: with masonry blocks at different heights, she gave the walls certain rhythms. With this playful approach to the material, she also achieved that practically leftover pieces of any size can be used.

Architect Pepa Díaz and natural stone company Rosal Stones: Albamiel House.Architect Pepa Díaz and natural stone company Rosal Stones: Albamiel House.

The architect also gives her building a recognizable image on the exterior facades, e.g., with the box-like accents of natural stone.

The zero-energy balance is also based on modern technology: the energy for living comes from an outdoor air heat pump and photovoltaics on the roof. A circulation system in the bathrooms uses the water from the sinks and shower for the toilets.

Pepa Díaz Arquitecta (Spanish)

Rosalstones