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House in Madrid

With its bright orange coloration, round perspex roof-light domes and flamboyant, organic layout, this family house might, at first glance, seem to echo the kind architecture that was popular in the 1970s. In fact, though, it is the outcome of a wholly modern design approach, which is in turn based on a certain sensual pragmatism. Instead of shaping the terrain around an ideal design concept, the architects developed the form and volume of the house to take account of the existing vegetation and topography. They sunk the building 90 cm into the ground. As a result, it was possible to avoid using heavy equipment on site that would have been both expensive and destructive. It also helped to create a close link between the living and sleeping tracts (set on each side of the glazed entrance area) and the outdoor realm where a lot of the family’s life takes place. Furthermore, the soil and the trees protect the house from overheating in summer, while the flat roofs, covered with a red and black rubber finish, function as generous terrace-like areas.

The internal spaces, with split levels in part, exhibit something of the easy, relaxed quality of the round seating pads let into the roof. The timber boarding used as formwork to the concrete balustrades was subsequently applied as wood cladding to the lintels over the windows. This resulted in a surprising visual identity between the upper and lower areas of the wall. Many details reveal a tendency to choose spontaneous, uncomplicated or even “imperfect” constructional solutions, such as the terrace doors hung on rollers, the screwed window fixings, and the clips for fastening the domed roof lights. Where technical and formal constraints permitted, many elements were purchased in a building market and built in without modification. The provision of additional solar screening was also resolved in an unconventional yet practical manner: instead of developing elaborate fittings, one simply planted a number of trees.

This article is taken out of the following magazine:
DETAIL 6/2008

Simple Forms of Constructions

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