In Miramar, Portugal, architectural firm e|348 architects devised a home that interacts with its environment in a natural and novel way. The architects wanted to incorporate passive cooling into the home’s design, but they did not want this feature to be obvious or predictable. They settled on a unique facade which opens and closes on command to control the home’s interior climate.
The Screen House features moving wooden louvers around the exterior of the upper level. The louvers are constructed of vertical strips of wood which open to allow for natural light and solar heating, or close for privacy and to keep the interior from becoming too hot in the summer.
The opening and closing wooden screens also allow the residents to constantly redefine the living space. Room divisions and visual connections can be changed simply by folding the louvers open or pulling them closed. The living area continues on to the rooftop, where a clear barrier protects residents and revelers.
The environment of the semi-enclosed balcony of the upper level is changed considerably simply by the movement of the screens. Closed louvers provide supreme privacy while open louvers create an airy, natural light-filled outdoor space.
Inside the Miramar home, airy staircases, clear room dividers and plentiful windows make the lovely home feel almost weightless. On the ground floor, one of the corners features large sliding glass doors which completely open up the home. Nearly all of the home’s architectural features were meant to promote passive cooling and the free flow of air throughout the entire living space.
“Although the volume, apparently, is being treated as a solid monolith, it is fully traversed, with vertical and horizontal voids, with the purpose of creating strong visual relations with its contiguous exterior spaces, and allowing the light to enter through the entire house.”
“On the ground floor are the social and service areas, plus, in the northwest, there is a ‘body’ attached, to be used as a garage. The entire floor is opened, from north to south, allowing social spaces relate frankly to their outdoor spaces of natural expansion.”