House Q / Vaillo + Irigaray

Architects: Vaillo + Irigaray / Antonio Vaillo + Juan Luis Irigaray
Location: Gorraiz, Navarra,
Project manager: Ibón Ibarlucea Ochandiano, architect
Graphic design of facades: Alex Viladrich, ALDRICH
Riggers: José Ingacio Sola y Julián Damboriena
Structure: Gonzalo Díez
Contractor: GOSA S.L.
Project year: 1998
Finished year: 2004
Photographs: José Manuel Cutillas, Albert Font, Joan Mundó

Location: Many small plots around a golf course,  mis-ordered devices external to the individual qualities of the environment, backed, resulting in an almost monstrous mix.

Adaptation is key into abstraction mimetic. The green totally invaded the facade, and the house disappears: as a large magnifying focusing on a piece of grass.

Internally an impluvium (water, light and oxygen) defines the organization, around which living gravitates. As in Alice’s house, it becomes a hole where golf balls slip.

Cite: "House Q / Vaillo + Irigaray" 12 May 2009. ArchDaily. Accessed 29 May 2015. <>
  • dustin

    “around which gravitation stays, it becomes all stay home and live it. As in Alice’s house, it becomes hole where slip golf balls.”… : wtf?

    Is the exterior glass?? on a golf course… really?

  • dustin

    Whatever the material the facade is plain ugly.

  • INawe

    pixelation of grass or bamboo or something??? was that the intention of the facade? well whatever it is i thought that the massing of the house feels good. and i even thought the facade cladding was good looking… that is until i saw the close up picture. sadly, i threw up in my mouth a little. what a waste.

  • MZ

    That, my friends, is glas, probably with digital screen-printing on it. It is normally a safety glas (e.g. laminated glas or toughened glas), hanged on small stainless steel elements, with a ventilated space behind, then you have the thermal isolation and the load bearing wall. It is a pretty fancy and expensive construction, but looks undoubtedly cool. If somebody can afford such things, should have thought about heating fittings integrated in the floor, instead of the rather ugly and conventional things for the glas sliding door. All in all a pretty contemporary concept though.

  • francis

    Cheers MZ, it is undoubtedly kool and an expensive facade. Bizarrely it work. An inward piece of architectural preference – I like the spaces created. A bit more landscaping, we won’t even notice it’s there. Nice work.

  • Gerard

    Sometimes i feel the comments should not be allowed
    why are teenagers architectural fans allow to write about architecture, go to school, built and then start criticizing architecture…..idiots!

  • Fino

    Is that a bamboo print on the facade? Hm.

    that is all

  • Marcus

    The interior space is well designed in my opinion.

  • dustin

    I agree the house has a great form, I really liked the far away pictures. And it is a well designed house. But then when I saw the close up pictures, realized it had a glass facade with no real function other than an ornament to make it look ugly from up close it made me wonder why? Beauty is subjective Gerard, Thank God for that or we would be living in a plain world. Design principle is also subjective, I believe we should not mask the true nature and beauty of materials by useless and indecent ornament, as well as a lot of other architects who have gone to school and built. like Adolf Loos. So no Gerard your opinion is not right, idiots are people who don’t have an opinion, and just think what the person before them thinks.

  • Gerard

    I think is more eloquent and mature to point out the positive aspect of the design instead of “is just plain ugly”
    i think it will be great for each person that with so much freedom post a negative opinion to post their best work so we can all know where ¨those opinions¨ are coming from; Do you know how difficult is to built a good project? Have you had real clients? I´ve been practicing for 6 years now and trust me it takes more than just a good try to build something decent…..

  • Juan Luis Burke

    Interesting project, Im surprised at the negative comments. I always feel some sort of attraction to textures and glass. I actually wish they had featured some night photos of the house.
    One thing I must say though, the language used in the project description is just undecipherable, I dont know if they were trying to sound different and interesting, but I just dont understand anything!

  • Dustin

    Gerard if you read my posts I never said the house was a failure, I do believe the glass design on the facade is ugly and unreasoned, but as I pointed out… that is my opinion and beauty is subjective. If the client likes it, well good for him. As I also pointed out in my first post the language used in the description is not understandable. Other than that, I already posted that the house has a great form and design.
    Yes I am still in my last year of school Gerard, but I have designed and built 3 houses for real clients. I also designed and built an ecological house for a poor family with my own hands. Currently the Director of Customs in Mexico is reviewing the chosen project that some friends and I made for an interior port and customs facilities with and investment of 400 million.
    Yes I lack experience, but we all start somewhere and I believe my comments are as good as any.

  • Michael Nash

    I think it’s brilliant. I don’t understand the comment about “the glass facade with no real function other than an ornament…” It’s obvious the pattern printed on the glass is for environmental camouflage, while allowing light and views to the interior, much like the screen-printed advertisements across bus windows (at least here in the US).

    For years architects have been using locally-acquired materials (quarried stone, felled trees, rammed-earth) to help their structures visually recede into the environment; I see this as a more modern technique to achieve the same ends.

  • dustin

    Good commment michael, and I think it is great to remember the vernacular in our projects but to me this just does not qualify. I think you would agree that it is not the same to make your house of out stone as it is to make your house out of a processed material and hide it with digital screen printed glass.
    Yes the glass sometimes serves as a window, sometimes it just covers a wall.
    Some people like to cover their wood house with fake rock. That is what this house feels to me. I am not saying it is wrong, I am not saying it is right. You might agree with me you might not. I honestly believe the intention of the arhitect to blend in with nature is good, but I am personally not amused with the outcome. I would not like my house to be compared to a bus billboard.

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  • Juan Gomez-Velez

    It seems only natural to discuss the building envelope and its external appearance as this is the design feature emphasized in the images provided. Still, from my point of view, looking at the interior photographs and the drawings, we should also discuss some other aspects of this project. The designers’ intention seems to have been that of providing a totally transparent space, as seen from the inner patio outwards, layering veils instead of walls. No glass at floor level, only folding doors. By taking all these measures it feels as if the definition of the perimeter itself is meant to be ambiguous, “undefined” so to say, and the designer’s goal that of a completely permeable building envelope. I believe the images betray this intention yet they are not enough to ascertain its success.

    The other matter is scale. This house is huge! The sloped roof profile almost indistinguishable in the images yet imposing in the sections as drawn. A huge house with no imposing inner space… great hall, only a small glazed patio that seems to act as a true impluvium. Deliberate, not non intentional.

    This is a sophisticated intellectual proposal, made by a knowledgeable designer to a willing, wealthy and receptive sponsor/client. If this had been built by some other current star architect I feel it would have attracted a great deal of attention. I also feel its worth looking into further.

  • sylc

    The house really disappear due to the mannipulation of the skin.
    Nice execution.