Sunflower House

El Port de la Selva / Spain / 2014

266
266 Love 23,675 Visits Published

The Sunflower house sits on a privileged condition of limit; in the border within the water of the
Mediterranean sea and the hard rock of the Costa Brava, between the wild nature of Cabo de
Creus and the urban settlement of El Port de la Selva, a small fisherman village in the border
of France and Spain. A place where the Pyrenees get into the water, generating an
exceptional wildlife richness, both in the coast and in the water. The house wants to identify
each of the particularities of this magnificent landscape; with its geometry, the house frames a
multiplicity of different and specific views, and builds up content spaces that inhabit great big
framed views.
Mel and Geoff wanted a house in front of the Mediterranean sea that was fully exposed to the
views; but they never imagined that their plot, beyond its closeness to the sea, was
tremendously exposed to one of the strongest winds of the peninsula ( the Tramuntana, up to
180 Km/h at this point), and did almost not get any direct sun radiation. So the project starts
from this dichotomy: reinforce the relation to the sea, while finding and attracting the sun into
the house.
The frontal view from the site is impressive, from France to the Natural Park of the Cabo de
Creus, and always the immensity of the open sea right in front of it; the rocks, and a ever
changing sky that changes constantly its texture due to the wind. The project breaks down the
panoramic view into the addition of many different conditions; the diverse uses of the house
are minced and articulated so that each of them (of small dimensions) is positioned frontally to
the diverse landscape conditions previously enumerated. Therefore the project is an addition
of small units that each frame a differentiated view, and it is within the transition from one
unit to the other where the totality of the panoramic view is comprehended. And it is also in
the addition of those units where a major open space is generated, the central space of the
house.
The house is also a big solar collector, a mechanism to bring light and heat into the house; like
a giant sunflower. The composition of the volumes responds to the generation of a rear patio
that enables the sun radiation into the living room, to heat the hole house up. This patio,
protected from the Tramuntana through the construction itself and oriented to ensure
maximum radiation inside the house, is also an outdoor living area where to stay when
Tramuntana is hitting the area. Even more, the sequence of two major glazing enables the
view of the sea from this back rear patio, while seating within the rocks and local vegetation.
The segmentation into small units is a programmatic decision that has little impact on the
actual experience of the place. Each of this cubes is defined through a solid continuous
perimeter that traces a specific relationship with the outdoors; the arrangement of all the
individual spaces generates an ensemble that reacts to its not uniform context, opening to the
views but protecting itself from neighbors. From the interior the experience of the house is
continuous: from any point of the house one feels closely related to the immediate milieu by
incorporating one or other view into the numerous spaces.
The strength (and struggle) of the project relies on its geometry. Meanwhile, all the materials
used in the construction are typical of the area, from the structure to the outdoor finishes of
the walls. Only the glazing, due to the need to respond to the requirements for such strong
winds, incorporates thicknesses and technologies more typical of skyscrapers than for single
houses. Water, salt, sun

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    The Sunflower house sits on a privileged condition of limit; in the border within the water of theMediterranean sea and the hard rock of the Costa Brava, between the wild nature of Cabo deCreus and the urban settlement of El Port de la Selva, a small fisherman village in the borderof France and Spain. A place where the Pyrenees get into the water, generating anexceptional wildlife richness, both in the coast and in the water. The house wants to identifyeach of the particularities of this...

    Project details
    • Year 2014
    • Work finished in 2014
    • Status Completed works
    • Type Single-family residence
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