It is said that architecture is born out of necessity… and also of difficulty (the one we find and the one we add).
Maybe this is a case where both concur, but difficulty is uppermost: a slot with a 12 ms difference in height, on a north slope, with insufficient building capacity (for the program proposed), a rocky terrain, a wood to preserve, and, as ever, an intention to deceive.
Montepinar is another result of the Spanish promoters’ habit of devastating places that look attractive because of their natural conditions. Montepinar, a Mediterranean wood on a smooth topography with fabulous views, is substituted by a one-layered waterproof crust of tile 6 ms high.
The wish to highlight the natural attributes of the place forces a solution that not only makes mimesis with the landscape possible, but also reflects and multiplies it.
So there comes to emerge a polyhedron geometry, covered with green-blue iridescent steel, that fuses itself with the sun and the trees, reflects the nearby pines, and elevates itself so that the floor goes under it… irony of the laconic “to green” of Bruno Latour?
Before starting the house we thought of the houses built by XPIRAL, and other houses in the world of interest to us, looking for a hypercontext in which to fix our project, with the purpose of locating it, and measuring the new possibilities it offers.
Topography, space and geometry: sun, wind, rain
The house is performed as an interface that allows the use of places difficult to inhabit.
The lower area is a void in the mountain, inlaid with the uses that hardly require sun, and an access to the upper floor. In between this access and the one to the plot, the shadow thrust by the upper area creates an exterior suburban hall, thought as car access.
The upper part is a cramp stapled to the ground. It remains suspended, and generates in its hollow interior a south façade that lets the sun and the wind come into the habitable spaces in the house.
This area, detached from the floor, ends up in a cover made of the same material as the façades. The cover wraps everything and lets rainwater slide on the floor. It can then be used for irrigation.
Steel covers the whole the house, like a veil. It is a tissue that protects us from the weather and from the aggression of other sights, and allows us to look at the spots we wish.
Over it all, in the sunniest area, there is a solarium and a swimming-pool that look over the triangulated cover towards farther horizons. Simultaneously, it hides the nearby buildings.
What wraps the house is a membrane that, contrary to habit, is built from the inside to the outside, with different laws for each layer, generating different geometries. The intermediate chamber is, therefore, variable. It takes in and distributes the installations on covers and façades with freedom, stapling solely where the ceramic interior layer is necessary.
The concrete structure—main generator of the different spaces—is visible in all the rooms, like the thermoclay that compacts and completes the interior face of the façade and will provides mass and inertia.
The exterior face concentrates waterproofing and isolation through a more technical skin, plain, smooth and iridescent, that wraps the whole house.
Living and enjoying
Doing architecture means realizing the importance of time in a long process, which starts with the project, continues with construction, and ends up with the furniture, gardening…
To live a house means, most of all, to enjoy its interior because it is there where it becomes most surprising.
The sun, the sky, the reflections of the trees, transparency, and views crossed between the rooms… come up in the interior. A multiplicity of stimuli that contrasts with the uniformity and hermetecism of the exterior skin, where only some selected views remain framed in small holes.
The nearby becomes most important (landscape, reflections, sights, materials…). Furniture and lighting are essential elements. They entwine with constructive elements, sometimes literally, till building a whole which will be adjusted, again, by time.
And watch out, this architecture of façades and run-on covers may generate new home tasks, like, for example, mopping the roof…
© Javier Peña Galiano
Promotor / Promoter:
Juan Carlos López Orenes
Dirección de obra e interiores / Construction director and incide design:
Javier Peña Galiano
Aparejadores / Construction Engineer
Luis Fernando Perona
Miguel Ángel Carceles
Instalaciones / Systems Building
Federico Garcia Salmerón
Estructura / Structural Consultant:
Colaboradores / Collaborators:
Salvador Benimeli López
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