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CASAVERA: A Mediterranean Home of Inclusive Design

CASAVERA, Valencia, ES / GON Architects

Gon Architects has managed to transform an old sports store in the historic fishermen’s neighborhood of El Cabanyal, Valencia, into a stunning Mediterranean home called CASAVERA. This project not only showcases beautiful design and architecture but also emphasizes the importance of accessibility for individuals with disabilities. With all spaces in the house complying with strict accessibility regulations, CASAVERA is a true testament to inclusive design and making life easier for everyone. Let’s delve deeper into this incredible transformation and learn more about the thought process behind it.

CASAVERA, Valencia, ES / GON Architects

Elies, an entrepreneur and activist for the reduced mobility, shares the house with Aurora, a dancer, director, and multimedia designer, and with their daughter Vera. The family also includes four cats named Lupito, Doce, Nosu, and Sumi. Despite their diverse desires, schedules, speeds, and relationships, the group maintains coordination and synchronization, which are crucial in shaping the design and mindset of the house.

CASAVERA, Valencia, ES / GON Architects

The neighborhood’s urbanism is characterized by its domestic atmosphere, where everything within it resembles a large interior space. It is also notable for its hybrid and complex social fabric, which is currently undergoing adaptation. The street seamlessly extends the house, allowing Elies and her family, including Elies in his motorized wheelchair, to freely move around and embrace the life of the neighborhood.

CASAVERA, Valencia, ES / GON Architects

Within this ecosystem of streets, squares, small squares, huts, colorful buildings, and facades made of tile and wood that withstand the corrosive effects of the sea, a unique way of life is promoted. It is associated with a space and time that seems to move at a slower pace compared to the bustling city center. It is in this setting that CASAVERA, the home of Elies, Aurora, Vera, and their cats, is situated.

CASAVERA, Valencia, ES / GON Architects

The architectural proposal for CASAVERA involves the rehabilitation of a section of the house facing the street, as well as the construction of a small pavilion at the rear of the plot. The plot measures 25 meters in length and 6 meters in width, while the pavilion spans 7 meters in length. The transition between the two buildings, from the old to the new, is marked by a gradient vector that signifies the shift from public to private spaces.

CASAVERA, Valencia, ES / GON Architects

The restored area, constructed using traditional vaults, encompasses all the common areas such as the entrance, multipurpose space, bathroom, living room, and kitchen-dining room. On the other hand, the new section, built with a metal structure and brick, houses the most private areas. These include the rooms with skylights-viewpoints, featuring three windows inclined at a 15-degree angle in blue and yellow, an atomized bathroom, and the engine room.

CASAVERA, Valencia, ES / GON Architects

An intermediate space, measuring 26 m², is created as a patio in the central area of the house, serving as a connection between the two architectures. This patio not only provides a venue for outdoor activities that can be enjoyed throughout the year due to Valencia’s mild climate, but also functions as a thermodynamic device. By naturally ventilating all the rooms, it helps regulate the temperature within the house. Additionally, similar to the way Sorolla’s paintings depict it, the patio fills the entire house with the characteristic Mediterranean light.

CASAVERA, Valencia, ES / GON Architects

Essentially, the concept involves two houses interconnected by a patio, where one must step outside of a house to enter the other. These houses are constructed using local materials and are designed to evoke the Mediterranean atmosphere and the proximity of the sea, which is also reflected in the surrounding El Cabanyal neighborhood. Materials such as clay, wood, and ceramics are utilized, emphasizing a sense of locality and proximity.

CASAVERA, Valencia, ES / GON Architects

The most distinctive feature within the patio is a swimming pool, measuring 5.80 meters in length, 1.70 meters in width, and with a capacity of 7 m³. Positioned towards the south, the pool serves as a connecting element between the new and rehabilitated parts of the house. It is a linear water feature, specifically requested by the clients, with both an outdoor and indoor section. Apart from its recreational and hedonistic purposes, the pool also serves a functional role in supporting Elies’ health and physical well-being, as it is the space he uses for personal care and exercise.

CASAVERA, Valencia, ES / GON Architects

CASAVERA is a residence characterized by its open and barrier-free layout, tailored to the needs of its inhabitants. The architectural, material, environmental, and spatial solutions implemented in this unconventional home have been carefully tested to ensure functionality and comfort. Despite its unique dimensions and proportions, CASAVERA does not compromise on good design principles. It serves as a space where family members can care for each other and maintain their personal autonomy. Daily life in CASAVERA is marked by moments such as observing Elies swimming in the pool, Aurora preparing for her next performance in the hammock, the cats lounging in the blue skylight room, and Vera engrossed in drawing on the patio floor.