The House On The Hill / Miguel Barahona + PYF Arquitectura

© Jimena Merino, Marco Villa

Architects: Miguel Barahona, PYF Arquitectura
Location: , Spain
Project area: 378 sqm
Project year: 2007 – 2010
Photographs: Estudio Autobombo / Jimena Merino, Marco Villa

© Jimena Merino, Marco Villa

The House on the Hill is located at the highest level of the plot, enjoying distant views across the valley and the mountains, and inserting itself into a natural garden of granite rocks and gnarled oaks. From the street, the building seems to disappear; the tight construction is veiled by a horizontal slat fence, above which an intriguing slanted roof garden made of apparently random circles can be seen.

The house is organized around three courtyards. The two smaller ones define an axis that runs along the path from the street to the garden, incorporating at the same time the vertical circulations. The larger courtyard is occupied almost entirely by the indoor pool, around which all the elements of the house are arranged.

© Jimena Merino, Marco Villa

["A home where the pool could be seen from the living room and the bedroom" had been the client's own words.] As the pool extends into the garden, it also brings with it a platform for its enjoyment. The living room occupies an intermediate situation, surrounded by water on three of its sides, with large windows facing the courtyard and looking into the garden. This apparently simple and strict scheme is transformed by the almost total internal transparency and the slope of the roof. The different environments of the house are all visually connected enhancing and augmenting the spatial experience.

The project seeks to build a complex medium capable of encompassing and generating the multiplicity and variety of activities inherent to the domestic sphere. Three levels of relationships are posed: internal, with respect to the patios, pool and other premises; close, with respect to the garden; far, with respect to the landscape. The spaces and finishes are customized to generate diverse situations, an environment susceptible to multiple interpretations, consistent yet singular.

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The exterior walls are covered with dark phenolic panels that glow and change color depending on the incidence of light. In contrast, the courtyards are influenced by the internal transparency and covered with backlit translucent glass. Inside, some elements are emphasized by the use of natural materials or provocative colors. The staircase to the first floor is entirely transparent, with glass steps between glass walls; people in transit seem to float in space. In contrast, the steps to the basement, made of solid wood, emerge outright from the wall, enclosed but untouched by steel wires.

The design of the garden and the green roof deliberately breaks the geometry of the building using sinuous and circular lines, inducing a changing perception of the building due to the variability and unpredictability of the greenery.

Cite: "The House On The Hill / Miguel Barahona + PYF Arquitectura" 20 Feb 2011. ArchDaily. Accessed 27 May 2015. <>
  • up_today_arch

    Nice house, well organized plan… thanks for a lot of pictures and executive drawings… very usfull post…

  • Mario

    the tight space between the 2 level structures is too dark for a pool i think.