This project called to refurbish a small, 46 square meter apartment for Jaime, an ER doctor, and Albóndiga, his bulldog. The original apartments cross-ventilation was blocked by several interior walls, which meant that the distribution did not adequately respond to Madrid’s high temperatures in summer. This was a key aspect for studio HUSOS to consider in the new design, for both Jaime and Albóndiga. As bulldogs are especially sensitive to heat. This was why the interior was redistributed to create a kitchen-living-dining room that is open to the east as well as the west, allowing the air to circulate.
One important aspect of the apartment’s passive cooling design is a vertical edible garden on the west-facing balcony. The vegetation helps prevent the home from overheating in summer and generally functions as a thermal cushion, cooling the interior and avoiding the use of air conditioning. Madrid and its surrounding area suffer from a serious lack of water, which is progressively worsening as temperatures rise, HUSOS designed a system to recycle grey water from the shower to irrigate tomatoes, herbs and other plants in the vegetable garden.
Since Jaime’s work hours are very variable, he catches up on sleep after night shifts by taking long naps during the day. Therefore, instead of focusing on the bedroom as the only place to rest, the designers created a capsule-periscope for taking siestas in the living room as an alternative to the bedroom. Apparently, it also serves to receive intimate casual encounters, often reserving the bedroom for closer relationships.
The siesta capsule can also be converted into a guest room, obviating the need for opening out a sofabed in the living room, which would take up a lot of space. It can also be a place to watch films, by sliding down a compartment that serves as a projection screen, or a periscope window offering natural light and a view of the tree-lined street outside, allowing Jaime to read with his back to the window while being able to look outside through a series of mirrors. The capsule is part of a 1.5 m wide strip, in which a dressing-room, a store room and the main bedroom for sleeping in at night are situated. As well as benefiting from natural cooling, Albóndiga has a number of cotton islands that HUSOS designed for him to rest on. These soft hemispheres have a cooling effect, since they allow the air to circulate between them; they are fixed to the floor with suction cups, which means they can be repositioned at any time.