Practices

Casa del Castell: Efficient Hotel

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​La Casa del Castell is the first hotel designed and built according the Passivhaus standard in Catalonia, currently in the process of certification. Located in Mora d’Ebre, Tarragona, Spain, the Hotel offers four bedrooms in an area rich in history, with impressive wine growing and gastronomic treasures in the nearby Montsant and Priorat regions. This pioneering building is constructed with two different systems: cellular concrete on the bottom 2 floors, and light weight timber on the top 3 floors.

The hotel is located in the historic center of Mora d’Ebre, in front of a medieval castle. With an internal floor area of 304.4 m2 over 5 floors, the two existing buildings on site were demolished to allow for the construction of the new hotel. The building was designed with a sensitive approach, so as to blend harmoniously with the surroundings of the old town.

In terms of layout, the strategy is based on two structural bays separated by a central vertical core formed by a low-power hydraulic lift and linear stairs. The vertical plane is divided into two different building systems: the lower 2 floors with a system of cellular concrete blocks and external XPS insulation, while the upper 3 floors are built with a lightweight prefabricated timber system with wood fibre insulation.

To ensure good air quality with minimal heat loss, a balanced mechanical ventilation system with heat recovery has been installed, providing fresh air, fully filtered and at a comfortable temperature. By continually renewing indoor air, levels of CO2 and volatile organic compounds (VOCs) are kept to a minimum.

Radiant heating and cooling panels on the walls meet the near zero energy demand during summer and winter. The thermal envelope was carefully designed to reduce heat loss in the winter and minimise heat gains in the summer: thermal bridges have been reduced and/or avoided, and windows with thermally efficient timber frames and low-e double glazing were installed to ensure minimal heat loss and high levels of airtightness. External shading devices reduce solar heat gains, with a ventilated façade on the upper floors and ventilated roof. Natural night ventilation through tilt-and-turn windows provides free cooling in the summer, in combination with the automatic summer bypass function of the mechanical ventilation with heat recovery system (...)

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