Architects: Joaquín Alvado Bañón
Location: Vistahermosa, Alicante, Spain
Structural Engineer: Miguel Angel Crespo
Collaboration: Jesús Olivares and Ángel Muñoz
Project Year: 2012
Photographs: David Frutos
From the architect. It is a Project that research the relation between nature and architecture. We discuss the concept of a private garden with a single house in a low density program in the city. It is a rethinking, in a sustainable way of life, to transform the way of promoting the east side of Spain.
The ground floor occupies the entire plot. The vertical elements of the structure merge with the tree trunks. Glass separates the interior from the exterior, limestone paving entering and leaving. An uncertain relationship is established between what is happening inside and outside, between the edges. Radiant floor heating makes this design condition comfortable.
The design establishes the natural/artificial relationship at every level. The distribution of the house descends to level 0 while the garden climbs to the upper storeys. The aim of this condition was that the blend of architecture and landscape should be present in every sphere of the project. Walk on earth and damp grass at every level of the house, breathe in its Mediterranean nature.
Three generations in one place led to suggesting three life options. The ground floor is a shared environment but the upper storeys, dismembered by their entrances, allow more privacy. The idea sprang from seeing three ways to live in the same surroundings, three objects related to a single context. Private and public are part of the dwelling brief and as such are included as a working condition.
The stairs to the upper floors divide the built volumes into specific programmes. Structurally, because of earthquake risk, three independent structures had to be designed. They are stabilised by the sloping slabs that take the vegetation to the upper floors. The staircases are independent structures and some flights are only accessible to those occupying particular rooms.
The built and plant elements combine into a structure of related fragments. Real things and their images generate combinations that multiply, endowing the project with this condition of unreality. The reflex glazing used on different planes of F brings the vegetation and the sky into the façades. Because the mirror-glazed elements are sliding and the weather changes, they make the project a live and dynamic thing.
The sloping planes introduce elements of the brief that establish bonds between the public nature of the ground floor and the private nature of the upper floors. The ramp entering the garage and those that raise the vegetation to the upper floors are public zones within the private spheres of the building. Places for encounters, meeting places. We had images of someone climbing a tree to be on his or her own, of cabins in the wood or tree houses.
The design work consisted of finding the relationships between the limits of the inhabited surroundings. Process was exciting because new discoveries were made day by day. The plot is a void and a fullness, a landscape and nothing, a volume and a plane. The result is a thought between volume and landscape with the town as a backdrop.