One for the road… an office building by Vaillo + Irigaray.

Photos: Jose Manuel Cutilas.

When the local highways department wanted a new headquarters building located in Navarra, Spain, they commissioned architects Vaillo + Irigaray who brought wit to a simple office building. They created a sunscreen made from rusty steel sections and gabion walls filled with shredded tyres.

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A portable house by Ábaton Architects

Photo credits: Juan Baraja.

This Spanish proposal, for a mobile home that is prefabricated and lifted into position, is an elegant exploration of an idea that is well tested, but which has had its ups and downs over the years.

One of the interesting things about this design, known as ÁPH80 and designed by Ábaton Architects, is that the internal spaces do not feel like a caravan. From the exterior the building feels more like a small and abstracted house, than a portable cabin. It looks sculptural and bespoke.

Its relatively abstract design raises the benchmark from an inexpensive way to provide housing, to something more exclusive – say a country weekend retreat, or a writer’s cabin. Read more

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The tube: An office building in Madrid by Selgas Cano.

In London, the underground railway is known as the tube. And if you know where to look, you can find old train carriages that have been recycled to make offices. As quirky as that might seem, none are as exciting as this tube of office designed by Spanish architect, Selgas Cano, and set in a beautiful Madrid garden that is thick with trees. Read more

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Seeing double: two houses in Barcelona by Pich Architects.

Images: Imagen: Simón García, Barcelona.

The architects, Felipe Pich-Aguilera and Teresa Batlle, sought to resolve the formal relationship with an existing property on the site, as well integrate the garden, and nearby Collserola Park, into the design of this pair of houses in Barcelona, Spain.

From the street, there are four modules apparent in the massing, giving a smaller urban grain to the exterior of the houses. Internally, this articulation provides a degree of spatial complexity. Constructionally, the entire property has been conceived as assembled from industrial systems, including large format ceramic materials. These are carried through from outside to in, and they correspond with the existing property on the site also designed by the same architects. Read more

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Public performance: A theatre in Xàtiva, Spain by Arquitectos Ayala.

When the people form Arquitectos Ayala decided to enter the competition to design the new public theatre in Xàtiva, Spain, they ascended the nearby Mont Sant near the old fortress to get a better view of the site.

There, they could see how the avenue Alameda divided the old town from the new, and also marked a significant shift in levels and building heights of around 6m. They knew at that moment that the successful scheme would have to negotiate these level differences and integrate both the old and new towns.

As a result of these observations they spent much of their design time doing just that, and now it is built, the theatre has become a place to meet in the metaphorical as well as the physical sense. Read more

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