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VILLA BIO - EPILEPSY

Milda Duoblyte UNIVERSITY OF ALICANTE


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Table of Contents Introduction............................................................................................................................................................................. 4 Reading stories of houses ...................................................................................................................................................... 6 Can Lis ................................................................................................................................................................................. 7 Blas house ............................................................................................................................................................................ 9 House in Lege.................................................................................................................................................................... 12 The original story of the house ........................................................................................................................................... 14 Villa Nurbs ........................................................................................................................................................................ 14 Video .............................................................................................................................................................................. 16 Villa Bio .............................................................................................................................................................................. 17 Floor plans ......................................................................................................................................................................... 19


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Sections............................................................................................................................................................................... 20 Vertical sections ................................................................................................................................................................ 21 Physical model .................................................................................................................................................................. 23 3D ........................................................................................................................................................................................ 24 Epilepsy.................................................................................................................................................................................. 28 Video .................................................................................................................................................................................. 31 Microarchitecture task ......................................................................................................................................................... 33 Concept .............................................................................................................................................................................. 34 Final result ......................................................................................................................................................................... 35 Story of the house ................................................................................................................................................................. 39 Safety in the house................................................................................................................................................................ 40 Circular corridor ................................................................................................................................................................... 42


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Design................................................................................................................................................................................. 42 Floor plans ......................................................................................................................................................................... 44 3D ........................................................................................................................................................................................ 47 Sections............................................................................................................................................................................... 51 Other ideas......................................................................................................................................................................... 53 Work process .......................................................................................................................................................................... 59 Individual manifesto ............................................................................................................................................................ 63 Looking back at the original story of the house ........................................................................................................... 63 Microarchitecture task ..................................................................................................................................................... 64 The main project ............................................................................................................................................................... 64 Team work ......................................................................................................................................................................... 66 References .............................................................................................................................................................................. 67


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Introduction The aim of this booklet is to represent the work I have done with my group throughout the semester and the lessons I have learned from this experience. The task this semester was Therapeutic Architecture. We were given a modern Spanish house and a neurological disorder. We had to make changes to the house accordingly to the disorder. According to neurologist Oliver Sacks, defects, disorders and diseases can bring out latent powers, developments, forms of life that wouldn’t normally be brought out. Looking at the disorder as a new normal, we had to see a positive aspect of the disease and implement changes on it. Our group had epilepsy as a disorder. The houses changed during the semester: first, we had Villa Nurbs by Enric Ruiz-Geli, Cloud 9; later it was changed into Villa Bio by the same architect.


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Stories of houses


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Reading stories of houses At the beginning of semester, we had to read stories of houses and choose three houses that we like the most, and later choose one of the three. All of the us chose similar houses and these are the three houses that we chose as a group: Can Lis, Blas House, House in Lege. The stories behind them helped us to create our own story of the house and make the changes in the house based on that story.


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Can Lis By Jørn Utzon 1973, Mallorca


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I chose this house, because nature plays the main role here. The location is breathtaking and the architect takes advantage of it on a highest level. The house blends in with the nature and is made from local materials. Jørn Utzon’s idea was similar to the one of Sydney’s Opera house - a sequence of pavilions linked by a wall and arrange accordingly to the function and the view to the sea. Different pavilions are designed for specific moment of the day, the furniture are fixed, so that it one could always see the best view. The window frames are fixed from the outside so that the frame would block less view. In 2011-2012 the house was renovated. The kitchen and bathrooms were lacking spirituality and sensuality, were “outdated”. All the new details followed the essence of the house. Architects used the same local materials for renovation. Purity, simplicity and harmony were the key terms.


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Blas house Alberto Campo Baeza Sevilla


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The Blas House in Sevilla la Nueva was the complicity between the client a professor of literature and the architect Alberto Campo Baeza with a mutual cultural understanding forged a house where music is heard with silence. Built on a hill southwest of Madrid, Sevilla la Nueva, offers views to the north, with the mountains of El Escorial. Being so high and far away from the neighboring houses, it leaves a lot of space for the enjoyment of the landscape in the distant horizon. The Client brought a poetry book of Luis Cernuda to the first meeting. This was the reading material that the professor of literature sent to the architect. The popular poem Cernuda "Donde habite el olvido" (1932-33), describes a world where one leaves aside all their problems and to achieve the desired freedom. Undoubtedly, Francisco de Blas wanted something more than a house. In its new home the emotions and thoughts should be considered as part of the construction material. As he explains Campo Baeza, the house refers to the argument of the cave to go opposite the hut where dream. Campo Baeza decided to divide the house into two parts, with a floor space and a home floor to enjoy the site in relation to the environment. Because of the elevation the house is partly dug in the soil and therefore has two different ground levels. The main volume of the house is the concrete housing program with a clear outline as the basement or first ground level. This massive volume connects to the environment through views of the landscape framed by a square opening in the walls. The sensation of the basement contrasts with the qualities of the transparent structure that forms a


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lookout platform on the upper level or second ground floor or where one is literally absorbed by the power of the environment. The top looks for contact with nature, and is a hut that protects them from the elements. Inside, nothing interrupts the visual communication between the audience and nature. This duality extreme top-down, inside-out, glass, concrete, nature-safe, is a dramatic discourse of opposites that determines the physical character of the building.


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House in Lege By Anne Lacaton and Jean Philippe Vassal

The house is located on the coast of France. They had a task to preserve old pine trees that grows on site and do not disturb the landscape in any ways. We chose this house, because it blends in with nature and has fantastic view. The nature is a key element in this house, the location was chosen because of it. Building this house, did not cause any harm to the landscape, because it was built around the trees and the soil wasn’t disturbed.


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The house was lifted up from the ground and resembles a tree house. Having the house higher, means that the view becomes even more spectacular. The architects used galvanized steel and concrete for their structure. Steel structure was fixed onto pile foundation and this type of construction make the house look light and the space underneath the house makes it look like a big tree house. The aluminium sheeting reflects the sky and the water; there are pine trees growing through the house and therefore the house blends in with the environment. The house was built in 1998, but because of the ecological idea behind it, seems up-to-date and timeless. The sustainable ideas of this house should be used as an example how to respect the nature and landscape. The house has similarities with Can Lis and Blas house in a way that all of the houses are built around the nature, the house itself isn’t the main focus, it’s the landscape that surrounds it.


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The original story of the house Villa Nurbs By Enric Ruiz-Geli, Cloud 9 Gerona


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Our first house was Villa Nurbs and we studied this house and prepared a video presentation for it. The Villa NURBS or Non-Uniform Rational Bezier Spline was designed by Enric Ruiz-Geli. Located in Empruriabrava in Gerona, Spain, it is a futuristic house where melting ice blocks were used as model. There is nothing standard, the whole house is made-to-measure. Organized around a central pool, the house has no corners but a seamless flow. It is a tensile structure, that uses new technologies. The beginnings were not promising: some restaurateur friends of Ruiz-Geli's mother wanted a new house. Since Ruiz-Geli was only interested in international competitions, he hoped to deter his potential clients by showing up with a series of photographs of melting ice blocks and asking them to choose which one they wanted to use as a model. It was the dawning of an opportunity. It has a heavy concrete base but it gets lighter as it rises towards a roof of ETFE (lighter alternative to glass) pillows. These employ a system of opening and closing layers that insulate the interior. The skin, comparable to a fish skin, is reactive and manages energies and privacy. The mixture of ceramics and plastics try to optimize the surface and structure, which is important for the temperature regulation inside the house. The wavelike ceramic plates decorate the facade and protect against strong solar radiation.The complex geometry is stable but adaptable, and the completion of Villa Nurbs expresses all Ruiz-Geli's aim to optimize


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building resources and to harmonize nature with technology. The energy-saving roof consists of inflatable plastic bubbles.

Video Video presentation about Villa Nurbs can be found on YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LW1gvTEV_qA


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Villa Bio By Enric Ruiz-Geli, Cloud 9 Llers, 2005.

Villa bio is a nice example of contemporary architecture. The spiral shape follows the landscape and the green roof makes the house blend in with the environment. The construction of it is quite unusual and impressive: the house is built completely of cast on site concrete with thick walls, floors and ceilings. This allowed to build a house with no columns and with huge openings with floor to ceiling windows. The house has three levels, garage and a walkable roof. Concrete is not considered a sustainable material, but it is long lasting and could be recycled, therefore it could be seen as semi-sustainable. Green roof partially makes up for carbon footprint that concrete has. The shape of the house is nontraditional and begs for unusual, interesting and fun decisions.


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Floor plans


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Sections


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Vertical sections


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Physical model We built a physical model, in order to understand the house better and have a new perspective on it to get fresh ideas.


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3D


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Epilepsy


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Epilepsy Epilepsy is one of the most common serious neurological disorders affecting about 22 million people as of 2013. It affects 1% of the population by age 20 and 3% of the population by age 75. 80% of those with the disorder are in the developing world. However, epilepsy could develop at any person of any age. Epilepsy is characterized by a long-term risk of recurrent seizures. A seizure is a disruption of the electrical communication between neurons. During a seizure, a person's muscles tighten and relax rapidly or stop moving completely. Seizures start suddenly, and people who have them cannot control their muscles while they are having a seizure. Depending on in which part of the brain a seizure is happening, a person’s behavior may change in different ways. If too many brain cells are sending disrupted signals at the same time, it causes an overload, and a person may pass out and shake all over - have a seizure. The frequency of the seizures varies from only once in a few years or as frequently as every day. Someone is said to have epilepsy if they experience two or more unprovoked seizures at least 24 hours apart. These seizures may present in several ways depending on the part of the brain involved and the person's age. 60% of cases are convulsive seizures. People tend to isolate themselves because of fear of a seizure.


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Causes: Causes could be both genetic and acquired; chemical disbalance or an injury. Injuries - high fever, birth trauma, alcohol, strokes and tumor (mostly in older age). In 60% cases the cause is unknown. Seizure triggers: 

Missed medication — is the most common cause of an unexpected seizure.

Lights — while it's not as common as many people believe, flashing or flickering lights caused by sunlight, strobes, video games or computer screens can cause seizures in some people with epilepsy. This is known as photosensitivity.

Brain disorders — people with certain brain conditions, such as tuberous sclerosis, cerebral palsy, mental retardation, autism and neurofibromatosis may be more likely to have seizures.

Lifestyle/habits, such as not getting enough sleep and drug or alcohol abuse

Hormone change — some girls find that their seizures become more frequent when they go through puberty or at certain points in their menstrual cycle.


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Foods — even though there is no scientific proof, some foods seem to influence seizures and it is best to avoid foods that seem to increase the chance of a sezure. Studies have shown that the ketogenic diet, if strictly followed, can help control seizures.

Other possible seizure triggers can include bold, high-contrast patterns such as a zebra's stripes, stress or anxiety, and certain mental processes such as reading or math.

Management:      

Daily management by medications Avoid bright light, blinking lights, light contrast polarized sunglasses, not sitting too close to a screen and taking frequent breaks away from the screen Regular sleep rhythm High-fat, low-carbohydrate diet One third of the patients live with uncontrolled seizures, because no treatment works for them


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Video Video about epilepsy can be found on YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ml6nfG0NAB4


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Microarchitecture task


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Microarchitecture task People, who have epilepsy, describe the seizure as a “tornado in your head”. And after the seizure people feel weird, “not themselves” and that feeling of disconnection lasts from a few days to a few weeks. This is something that a person cannot control. Having no control is scary and discouraging. On the other hand, having no control is relaxing in a way - stop fighting, stop trying, stop stress, if only for a second. Losing control means one accepts the situation as it is. It does not mean one has to agree or disagree with it. But if you want to change something, you have to accept it first. Having epilepsy and having a seizure is not pleasant in any ways, but as there is nothing anyone can do about it accepting and letting go is essential. And it is ok to not be in control. Having no control could be careless and fun. Being a child is a good example - children live in the moment, they do not plan, stress, worry. A playground is a house of worship. Therefore, our group came up with an idea of swings as a representation of having “no control” in the best way. Once you go down with swings, you lose control - even for a moment. And it might be scary, but that’s the fun in it. Swings can appear everywhere - playground, park, forest, yard, bus stop, university. And adults are allowed to lose control here, even if for a second.


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Concept


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Final result


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Proposal


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Story of the house Married couple Stephanie and Oscar lived in the house since it was built. They designed the house according to their needs as a couple, but left space for children in their future. Stephanie is a writer, works from home. Her husband Oscar is a head of a company. Now they have a son Connor, who is 5 years old. Recently years ago Connor was diagnosed with epilepsy. He has frequent seizures, which happens almost every day. Family strictly follows ketogenic diet, and to follow any diet means that home cooked meal is very important.


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Safety in the house Family needs to create a safe environment for their child. Designing a house for an epileptic person, we have to think about two things: 

Reduce possibilities of triggers that could provoke a seizure.

And, most importantly, keep the person from injuring himself/herself during a seizure - stairs, edges with no railings are the most dangerous places in case of a seizure.

First, we redesigned the floor plan: 1.

We redesigned the dining area – we split it into two areas – soft area/playground and dining area downstairs.

2. We removed the stairs next to the dining area and added railings. 3. Changes in the garden – plants just outside the living room to provide natural shade to the living room and soften the light. Also, remove rocks from the garden and plant bushes and other plants around the perimeter of the – to ‘soften’ the garden.


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A lot of interior changes needs to be done as well: 

Connor’s bedroom and soft area/playground has a wall-to-wall carpet

Shades on the windows to prevent from direct sun

Bathroom doors swings outwards

Installation of alarm systems, medic alerts

Railings on the roof - security

Shower instead of a bathtub

Small interior details: 

Remove locks from bathrooms and use occupied sign instead

Shower curtain instead of door

Shatterproof glass for mirrors

Wall to wall carpeting, remove scattered rugs

Protective covers on sharp edges

Chairs with arms


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Circular corridor Our final idea is circular corridor/tunnel/slides that goes around the perimeter of the house and continues on different levels from basement to the top floor (but does not go up n the roof). This idea is incorporates all previous ideas and improves connectivity of the house. Shortcuts are even more important in a family with epileptic child. Circular corridor continues the idea of “losing control”. The child is given a safe environment to be a child. A tunnel that starts in his bedroom and looks like a closet, but once you open the door – it’s a secret entrance! (A resemblance to “Narnia”).

Design The house has a slide/corridor that goes around the house and connects all floors and basement.

The corridor starts and ends at a child’s bedroom, although there are multiple entrances to it (basement, parents’ bedroom, “soft room” next to the living room). The corridor starts with the stairs up to the part next to parent’s living room. Not to disturb the privacy the wall between the corridor and the bedroom is made from mirrored glass. That way it also serves as a window from the bedroom.


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The corridor continues round the corner, follows the shape of the house and at the connection with the “soft room” goes down to the basement as slides. Continuing in the basement the corridor starts to slightly go up under the kitchen and eventually ends up in a child’s bedroom. The slide/corridor has some fun activities installed for the kid. A part of the corridor on the top floor would be made of a net. In the basement, where we can have a wider corridor would be book shelves. On the way from the child’s bedroom down to the basement would be a zip line. The corridor also serves as shortcuts for the whole family. There is a shortcut to a child’s room in case of emergency. Parents could slide down to the garage.


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Floor plans


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3D


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Sections


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Other ideas


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Previous ideas that will be incorporated in the Circular corridor idea:


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Work process


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Work process When we were introduced to the assignment, our first thoughts was that we need to ensure the safety in the house. During microarchitecture task, we had to learn how to see positive in the disease. We focused on the fact, that people, who have epilepsy, describe the seizure as a “tornado in your head”. And after the seizure people feel weird, “not themselves” and that disconnection from themselves feeling lasts from a few days to a few weeks. Therefore we saw these positive aspects of the disease: 

You learn how to accept yourself the way you are - first, you have epilepsy and you will have it for the rest of your life, and it is OK. Second, you learn how to accept yourself the way you are as a whole

You take care of yourself better

You learn to trust other people

We focused on control a lot. To us it meant control your body -> control your mind. However, this was not a very positive side of the disorder and we had to move on. Then we spinned it around and having no control became a positive aspect. From this point the focus was on losing control.


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When we had to implement the changes in the house based on losing control, we came up with multiple little ideas, but our house was still the same house. After a lot of research, looking for inspiration, we came up with the idea of corridor/tunnel/slides that connects the whole house. It is a shortcut and a playground in one. After coming up with our idea, it was a challenge to implement it in the house. As the house was already quite narrow, we didn’t want the corridor to take a lot of space. But eventually only the main hallway would have to be smaller as the bathrooms and other small rooms had to be moved a little bit. Living room and the kitchen could stay the same size as the corridor went under it. And as we wanted to keep the privacy of the parents, but also didn’t want to block the light, we came up with a mirrored glass idea. In the later pages you can see the evolution of ideas throughout the last months.


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Our group work was based on group meetings and communicating on Facebook. All documents are stored on a shared folder on GoogleDrive.


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Manifesto


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Individual manifesto Looking back at the original story of the house At the beginning of semester, after reading stories of houses we all had to create a video. Can Lis and House in Lege were inspirations to me, because it complies the rule “shape follows function”. In this case it is all about the nature, landscape and the view. The house itself is not the main focus, the view is. In my video it said: “In my perspective, architecture is not about the architect – it is about the building, the user of it and the lifestyle of the user”. “In my video I want to show that sometimes you do not even need to see the building to get the feeling of the lifestyle. The doorstep and the view through your window – you can read a lot from it. Door and the view could tell you a lot about the way of living – the neighborhood, location, people’s personal style and basically the kind of lives they live. Architecture fills in the gap between the door and the view and architects job is to fill in the gap to suit the lives of the users best.” I still strongly believe it and I tried to have the same attitude working on the project.


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Microarchitecture task During microarchitecture task, we had to learn how to see positive side of the disorder and that was a tough task. We were thinking about ideas that could help a person be more in control, the opposite of what we were doing in the end. It is very different of what we are doing at my home school and it was not an easy task to me. Eventually it was pretty interesting to come up with a final idea and building the swings was a fun challenge as well and all of us are very pleased with it.

The main project Therapeutic architecture and the semester project is an unusual task for me, as in my school in Copenhagen we do not have any tasks that are similar to this one. Our work is based on very logical and, in a way, traditional decisions. Philosophical aspect plays a very little role. Therefore it has been a tough task to switch a mindset to transform a house based on something abstract.


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The idea of transforming a house for a person with a disorder is very interesting to me. This project was very different from what I imagined it would be and from the projects I usually do. Consequently, I found it difficult to redefine terms “disease”,”disorder”, “normal” and see the positive aspect. It was difficult for us as a group to find a special way to fulfill the needs of a person with the disorder. Even after we learned to see the positive side, for some reason, it was difficult to come up with a bigger idea, an idea that would connect all small ideas and bound the whole house. A shape of the house is very unusual and that has both advantages and disadvantages. Disadvantages are that it takes time to fully understand it, without looking at the drawings, therefore we made a physical model to understand it better. Advantages of such house are that it gives a space for a lot of new ideas and you do not expect nothing but a bit crazy ideas as the house is a bit crazy. We wanted to make some connections or shortcuts in the house as well as slides and other fun playground items. Also, we wanted something that a child would not grow out of quickly. As I was a bit lost with the project, I did a lot of research for inspiration. My most googled phrases were crazy interior, playground inside, unusual homes. This led to the idea of a corridor/tunnel/slides, which is also semi-secret, and is not visible to house guests.


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After coming up with our corridor/slides idea, it was an interesting challenge to implement it in the house. In my head, the house had to remain a family home first and the “secret corridor� would be a connection and addition to the house. Safety and privacy are the key words.

Team work Team work was very important during the semester and even though we struggled and our results were not the best throughout the semester, we had to lean on each other to find motivation to keep going and doing better each week. My individual contribution for the group work is that I had many ideas. Some of them were good, some of them was just thoughts expressed aloud, but it led somewhere. I was usually the person analyzing the idea and writing the text.


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References 1. Wadu and profile, V. my complete (2012) Villa Nurbs. Available at: http://future-housegenealogy.blogspot.de/p/villa-nurbs.html (Accessed: 7 January 2017).

2. Work in progress (no date) Available at: http://www.ruiz-geli.com/projects/inprogress/villa-nurbs (Accessed: 7 January 2017). 3. Lacaton & Vassal official website. Available at: https://lacatonvassal.com/index.php?idp=21 (Accessed: 10 January 2017). 4. Can Lis official website. Available at: http://www.canlis.dk/es/can-lis (Accessed: 11 January 2017). 5. What is epilepsy. Epilepsy foundation. Available at: http://www.epilepsy.com/learn/epilepsy-101/what-

epilepsy (Accessed: October 2016). 6. About epilepsy. Lithuanian association of epilepsy patients. Available at:

http://www.lesia.lt/www/node/16 (Accessed: October 2016). 7. Safety at home. Epilepsy foundation. Available at: http://www.epilepsy.com/get-help/staying-

safe/safety-home (Accessed: October 2016).


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8. Risk assessment - Safety at home. Epilepsy society. Available at:

https://www.epilepsysociety.org.uk/sites/default/files/Riskassessment-safetyathome.pdf (Accessed: October 2016).

9. ArchDaily (2010) Villa bio / Enric Ruiz Geli. Available at: http://www.archdaily.com/48760/villa-bio-enric-ruizgeli (Accessed: 12 January 2017).

10. Blas home - architecture of the world (2000) Available at: https://en.wikiarquitectura.com/index.php/Blas_Home (Accessed: 10 January 2017).

11. Blas house in Sevilla la Nueva (Madrid), by Alberto Campo Baeza (no date) Available at: http://storiesofhouses.blogspot.de/2008/10/casa-de-blas-in-sevilla-la-nueva-madrid.html (Accessed: 10 January 2017).

12. Can Lis and can Feliz in Mallorca, by Jørn Utzon (no date) Available at: http://storiesofhouses.blogspot.de/2005/07/can-lis-and-can-feliz-in-mallorca-by.html (Accessed: 12 January 2017).

13. Enric Ruiz-Geli (2002) Available at: http://ruiz-geli.com/projects/built-projects (Accessed: 12 January 2017).


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14. House in Lège, by Anne Lacaton and Jean Philippe vassal (no date) Available at: http://storiesofhouses.blogspot.de/2005/06/house-in-lge-by-anne-lacaton-and-jean.html (Accessed: 12 January 2017).

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