Would expect a project of this physical magnitude to take months or years, but the entire Hemeroscopium House by Anton Garcia was built in just seven days. One can almost feel the weight of the concrete prefab structure just looking at it – reinforced by the giant boulder perched and held on an extended structural member, showing off its strength, and the knowledge that it was assembled in just one week.
These days, we think of prefabrication as a way to complete small, repetitive and simple projects – or ways to assemble things more easily off the beaten path where builders have difficulty reaching. This project turns in a new direction, using prefab approaches as a way to go up in scale on a more typical site.
Simple and geometric as the building may look, its few-but-sizable major structural elements are carefully balanced to deal with loads and set in equilibrium – driven by and driving the overall design. In a way, then, the house is as much about expressing balance as it is about showing the potential for using massive prefabricated structural elements in residential architecture.
“The order in which these structures are piled up generates a helix that sets out from a stable support, the mother beam, and develops upwards in a sequence of elements that become lighter as the structure grows, closing on a point that culminates the system of equilibrium. Seven elements in total. The design of their joints respond to their constructive nature, to their forces; and their stresses express the structural condition they have. By the way this structure is set, the house becomes aerial, light, transparent, and the space kept inside flows with life. The apparent simplicity of the structure’s joints requires in fact the development of complex calculations, due to the reinforcement, and the prestress and post-tension of the steel rods that sew the web of the beams.”
“It took us a year to engineer but only seven days to build the structure, thanks to a total prefabrication of the different elements and a perfectly coordinated rhythm of assembly. All of our effort oriented to develop the technique that would allow to create a very specific space. And thus, a new astonishing language is invented, where form disappears giving way to the naked space. Hemeroscopium house materializes the peak of its equilibrium with what in Ensamble Studio we ironically call the “G point”, a twenty ton granite stone, expression of the force of gravity and a physical counterweight to the whole structure.”