House in Piornal

The house is located at the entrance of a small village, Piornal, a mountain pass between two exceptional landscapes, the Jerte Valley and La Vera. It is built on top of a large granite rock. Years ago, this rock was the threshing floor where the owners’ family threshed the wheat and winnowed it to obtain the grain. This activity was carried in this specific place due to its open location, its exposure to the valley and the wind that rises from it. The altitude of this place (approximately 1,175 meters) and its location on the edge of the valley make it an exceptional viewpoint over the Jerte Valley.

The design is committed to the environment and the context, responding to the ecological premises of the owners. The design starting points were the integration into the landscape and the re-reading of the ways of doing vernacular architecture.

The separation of the family's threshing floor from the farm provided a plot with a single façade facing the road and three party walls. As a result, light and ventilation openings had to be all located on the façade. For this reason, the facade breaks its geometry by recessing the floor plan to create a front courtyard that allows two opening orientations.

The structural system revisits the traditional way of building in these latitudes (pitched roofs on load-bearing walls) from a contemporary design: A perimetral structural brick wall of 24 cm supports the pitched hip roof. This roof is a spatial structure of reinforced concrete tied at its base with four steel beams that work in traction, eliminating lateral thrusts so that it rests vertically on the walls, which work in compression. The result is a diaphanous interior space, as the vertical structural elements form a perimeter that leaves the interior free.

The design applies a located aesthetic sensibility, based on the local context, where the high cost of stone has led builders to look for more economical solutions such as the use of sheet metal and tiles to cover the party walls.

Healthy and proximity materials have been used in the coatings (ceramic, wood, stone, lime mortar and paint). The granite for the masonry walls has travelled only 3.4 km from the quarry to the construction site.

The heating and hot water for consumption are not supplied by the electrical grid, but by a mixed system that incorporates solar thermal panels and a pellet boiler, with water radiator terminal units. The structural shell, made up of the load-bearing walls and the reinforced concrete roof, is completely clad outside with a layer of thermal insulation. This solution avoids any thermal bridges. Also, the design considers the thermal inertia of the brick in contact with the interior air and the position of the solar gain and ventilation openings. Due to these two solutions (continuous insultation and thermal inertia), the house has a very low energy consumption for its context.


Ramos Expósito, Violeta

Cálculo estructural
Pozo Bernal, Melina
Dirección de Ejecución
Prieto Alonso, Jesús

Building Company
Construcciones Alcason S.L.

Piornal (Cáceres)