White O / Toyo Ito

White O_Toyo Ito (75)

Architect: Toyo Ito & Associates, Architects
Location: Marbella,
Local Architect: Christian de Groote
Project Area: 370 sqm
Project year: 2009
Photographs: Nicolas Saieh

White O_Toyo Ito (11) White O_Toyo Ito (22) White O_Toyo Ito (62) White O_Toyo Ito (77)

The site for this weekend house slopes gently down to the north-east, and has attractive views in the same direction. This proposal is intended to make dynamic use of the whole site, taking advantage of the special qualities created by this slope. White O_Toyo Ito (10) White O_Toyo Ito (1)

The house and site are composed together as a single continuous space, flowing along a spiral movement path, and centered on a partially enclosed garden. The approach to the house rises along the natural line of the slope, drawing visitors toward the rear of the site. Within the inner garden, the slope becomes continuous with the floor of the house, and then flows around and up to the more private areas of the house.

ground floor plan
ground floor plan

White O_Toyo Ito (68)

Beyond the entrance is a spacious living area, which leads on to an adjacent dining area. We expect that the inner garden and the living and dining spaces will be used together, allowing a free indoor-outdoor lifestyle. Further ascending via a gentle ramp which wraps around the inner garden, the interior makes a fluid transition into a private zone containing bedrooms. Floating above the ground, these spaces have complete privacy.

White O_Toyo Ito (41)

Ascending the slope to the rear of the site, entering the house, and moving through the continuous interior – the house and site composed as a fluid progression of interior and exterior spaces with gradually changing characters and orientations.

Cite: "White O / Toyo Ito" 17 Mar 2013. ArchDaily. Accessed 19 Sep 2014. <http://www.archdaily.com/?p=35756>


  1. Thumb up Thumb down +7

    “just these furnitures, colors, materials and textures destroys space…”

    …must be the stupidest comment ever in arcdaily. houses are not suposed to be somekind of museums-of-space. houses are meant for people to live in, and with people comes their furniture that make the house a home.

    we are not creating just spaces, we are creating places for people to live and work and eat and enjoy..

    • Thumb up Thumb down 0

      I also agree with yours opinions that it’s important to create places for people to live not for anaesthetic people.
      have you a web site for look somethings else ?


  2. Thumb up Thumb down 0

    Well I think it’s different, not bad, just different. It is grazing the austere that much is certain, but that is not a bad thing if it conforms to the people that live there, which is the ultimate goal of architecture, to please and fulfill the client’s needs.
    The views are definitely a plus.
    It’s certainly worth a second look to study the end result.

  3. Thumb up Thumb down 0

    When people leave their office,hospital or warehouse and see this, they can think that the work never ends.

  4. Thumb up Thumb down 0

    this building will cause people to lose their minds and kill their fellow man…a pitty, really….some cool spaces though and probably some killer views.

  5. Thumb up Thumb down +2

    While I like the open views to the mountains and the surroundings, it does seem rather transparent and open to the street it fronts on and all sides to its neighbours. Was there no need for any privacy – or is it just about being viewed?

    • Thumb up Thumb down 0

      I daresay your idea that the building leaves the inhabitants exposed is short sighted, no pun intended. If you check out the main floor plan you will see that Mr. Ito wisely made allowances for the installation for blinds or shades in the bedrooms. In addition it appears to be pretty spacious where the house is located so I would assume that the neighbors aren’t washing their dishes in your living room. I think this house has many striking areas and some cool concepts to explore such as entering from underneath and ascending into an open courtyard facing both the sky and the building. Altogether as a student of architecture this building is fairly thrilling in that it veers away from conventions of a home and forgive my ignorance but that is something that I have some difficulty facilitating in a meaningful way. I’ll return to the entry way as an example, ultimately the building more specifically the bedrooms create a sort of arch-entry and you enter to the rear of the building through no proper door while being shown through the interior of the house. Which I would say is a private space due to the way the building is elevated and not opened.

  6. Thumb up Thumb down 0

    Nice quality insitu conc building, a little austere perhaps. The external furniture and tables etc. look a bit “added on” though. I hope the clients are happy with the house as they spent a small fortune no doubt. In my opinion, not Ito’s best house…
    I really like the sandblasted corridor facade, looks great!

  7. Thumb up Thumb down 0

    I remember being very curious when Archdaily featured this house when it was in progress. Honestly, the result is a disappointment to me. Plus, the kitchen seems is just sad. Too bad.

  8. Thumb up Thumb down 0

    i think the rethinking of living space is really quite wonderful and the concept is extremely well executed.

    that aside i do agree with the above opinions that the cheesy and cheap looking interior decoration robs the potential away from the elegance of the design.

    great job from toyo ito though!

  9. Thumb up Thumb down 0

    I’ve seen photos of superyachts (of the motoring type, not the sailers) and they were ugly, every one. No matter how one dressed them up or pared them down, with dramatic lines or utter simplicity, they could not escape their form, giant machine-hotels driving on the sea. Some rare few achieved a measure of beauty, but at the expense of functionality, isolating the occupants amid the sculpting necessary to rescue the form from blunt utility.

    But it occurred to me that they were probably a lot of fun to be on, as facilities for being on the sea and enjoying it, looking out, the occupants being the only ones in the vicinity that did not have to suffer the ungainly appearance of the boat.

    Perhaps this structure will operate like that.

  10. Thumb up Thumb down 0

    Niko, did you take pictures of houses on the other side of the road? the house we see from the (ugly) bedroom looks interesting, too..

  11. Thumb up Thumb down 0

    In my opinion, there is something to be interesting in this design, in terms of the relation between the interiors themselves and the enviroment.

    At least here, in Chile, there’s almost always a pattern in the conception of houses, specially weekend houses. The public spaces (living room, dinning room, terraces), get the privilege views and positions in the composition; while the bedrooms, sometimes exept from the main one, are positioned in a totally secondary context.

    I think there’s something in this house that the architect wants to propose, something about the way people here live their houses. Don’t know if that’s meant to be like that or not, but that’s what i get looking at this design.

    Cheers from Chile!

  12. Thumb up Thumb down 0

    This is fantastic….a superb piece of architecture…such an elegant space creation…I would love to have a holiday home like this…..kudos….

  13. Thumb up Thumb down 0

    creative space but i think it’d be better when the ground fills green grass, It’s a house, people should relax in it

  14. Thumb up Thumb down 0

    …but U House had strong unity between the form of space and articulation of the interior (it was ONE)…
    in building from 2009 this harmony is destroyed by possition of windows and various kinds of furnitures, textures and colors…

    this house doesnt look as Itos house, anymore
    it is not so conceptual as in his old days…
    the effect unfortunatelly
    disappointing, Mr.Timo

  15. Thumb up Thumb down 0

    So many dead spaces and tight, unusable spaces. The materials and colours are shockingly un-homely and the entire project looks incomplete. Why would you want a house that consists of tight corridors and ramps? Active spaces are undefined – well, on by poorly selected roomsets of furniture

    I normally love Ito’s work but this one isn’t impressive at all, nor is it at the other end of the spectrum in the way of being simple and logical.

  16. Thumb up Thumb down 0

    if they wanted to call it the “white-O” why could’nt they build it like a proper “O”? wonder how’s that very hard to do. and why leave the centre courtyard looking like a desolate wasteland?
    an injustice to the concept, a waste of a good opportunity.

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