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Here is one way to minimize one's impact on the environment when building on a slope- follow it. H Arquitectes (David Lorente, Josep Ricart, Xavier Ros, Roger Tudó) built this cute little 109 m2 (1179 SF) number in Costa Brava, Spain.
"this project looks to respect the natural environment on this strongly slopped plot with dense Mediterranean vegetation. We tried to modify as little as possible the environment by building the house on a slope, and thus reducing the land movements, foundation and generation of waste products. We also have maintained the vegetation in order to not lose the current shaded and cool ambience as well as a sensible design of the exterior elements - wooden stairs following the natural slope and a minimal perimeter fence."
"Through this section’s adaptation to the original topographical profile, we were able to connect each of the interior ambiances with the garden through wide regular openings that fuses the exterior with the interior; it assures permanent natural light, allows cross-ventilation and multiplies the control options of interior comfort."
"The southern façade, with more sun exposure, has a natural shade: deciduous climbing plants protect it from the sun’s direct radiation in the summer and allows the sun to enter in the winter.
The roof has little sun exposure because it faces the north and is protected with vegetation. It is finished with zinc over a waterproof board with a ventilated chamber and interior insulation. The concrete pavements work as thermal storage through direct radiation and greenhouse effect, giving the building a selective inertia depending on the solar protection system used.
As a result, we have a second residence with a calculated program, with the minimal cost in meters, the maximum compactness, easy construction and minimal energetic investment at work and in the maintenance."
Lots more pictures at ::ArchDaily
More Spanish Architecture and Design in TreeHugger:
Fujy House: Sustainable architecture in Spain
Spain knows how to eco design: 'ecoproducte/ecodisseny' : TreeHugger
Venus Albir, the First Eco Hotel in Spain
Spain Leading the Way with Eco-Friendly Home Plan :