The architect Àngels Castellarnau wins Terra Award 2016, the international prize for contemporary earthen architectures, with her rammed earth house in Ayerbe (Huesca, Spain)

The award was presented yesterday evening at the XII World Congress of Earthen Architecture that was held this week in Lyon (France)

July 15th 2016 - Àngels Castellarnau, founder of Edra Architectura km 0, received yesterday the Terra Award, the international prize for contemporary earthen architectures, in the individual housing category, with her rammed earth house located in Ayerbe (Huesca, Spain).

This sustainable housing project, presented as a contemporary vernacular 21st century house, has been selected among more than 350 submitted from all around the world. The award was presented yesterday evening at the XII World Congress of Earthen Architectures that was held this week in Lyon (France).

Castellarnau wanted to thank yesterday to all those who have supported the project. "I am sure that this award will help our community and others to commit to our identity, our country and future generations”. "Building with earth links us with the territory,", she added.

The house has been inspired by old local earthen buildings regarding their orientation, morphology and the use of local materials. A life cycle analysis has shown a 50% reduction of CO2 emissions. Local materials like stone, earth and straw represent 80% of the weight of the building. Hydraulic lime, roof tiles, wood and sheep's wool have also been used, obtained from an area within 150 km radius.

With her own house, the architect has tested all techniques and materials to their limits in order to achieve not only a natural and sustainable house, but also an energy efficient, environmentally and socially engaged building. Windows specially designed for an efficient use of natural light, thermo-insulating blinds, cistern for reutilization of rain water, thermal accumulator clay plastering, biomass heating boiler, etc.

Àngels Castellarnau has been researching about local traditional architecture for ten years and she has developed renewed technologies, refining old local techniques. The Catalan architect based in Ayerbe is already working in two new earth-building projects, pioneers in the touristic Spanish sector. First, a 19th century building that will be transformed into a luxury, near-zero emissions hotel, with 18 rooms, wellness zone and restaurant (Monroyo, Teruel). It will be built of rammed earth and with other local materials. Heating will be provided by a biomass boiler and a greenhouse will warm the old stone walls in order to heat the interior spaces. Second, the restoration of an old 17th century traditional farmhouse (Collbató, Barcelona) that will be transformed into a rural tourist ccommodation comprising 8 rooms. In this case, new walls will be built in compressed earth blocks as part of a big trombe cellular polycarbonate wall.

In both projects, the aim is to recuperate the link between man and land, by also working in neighbouring vegetable gardens, olive tree orchards and vineyards.

Àngels Castellarnau has a Bachelor of Science Degree from the ETSA Vallès School of Architecture, (Politechnic University of Catalonia) and is pursuing a PhD in Environmental and Energy research in Architecture. She is researching traditional architecture and management of natural resources and has written numerous scientific research papers at national and international level. She has organized several workshops and has presented in international conferences.

Edra Arquitectura km 0 is part of Edra Cultura y Natura along with Edra Bodega. Together, both companies undertake projects that combine agriculture and architecture with an environmentally-friendly approach.



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