The House of the Infinite / Alberto Campo Baeza

  • 21 Jul 2014
  • Featured Houses Selected Works
© Javier Callejas Sevilla

Architects: Alberto Campo Baeza
Location: Cádiz,
Area: 900.0 sqm
Year: 2014
Photographs: Javier Callejas Sevilla

Codirector Of Construction: Tomás Carranza, Javier Montero
Collaborators: Alejandro Cervilla García, Ignacio Aguirre López, Gaja Bieniasz, Agustín Gor, Sara Oneto
Structure: Andrés Rubio Morán
Quantity Surveyor: Manuel Cebada Orrequia
Contractor: Chiclana
Quality Control: Laboratorios Cogesur

© Javier Callejas Sevilla

From the architect. On a marvelous place like a piece of earthly paradise, at Cádiz, we have built an infinite plane facing the infinite sea, the most radical house we have ever made. At the very edge of the waters of the Atlantic Ocean, where the sea unites the new and the old continent, emerges a stone platform. At the place where all the ships from the Mediterranean used to pass and still pass by as they head off into the Atlantic.

© Javier Callejas Sevilla

There we have erected a house as if it were a jetty facing out to sea. A house that is a podium crowned by an upper horizontal plane. On this resoundingly horizontal plane, bare and denuded, we face out to the distant horizon traced by the sea where the sun goes down. A horizontal plane on high built in stone, Roman travertine, as if it were sand, an infinite plane facing the infinite sea. Nothing more and nothing less.

Ground Floor Plan

To materialize this elevated horizontal plane, which is the main living room of the house, we built a large box with 20 meters of frontage and 36 meters deep. And under those first 12 meters we excavated two floors in the solid rock to develop the whole living space.

© Javier Callejas Sevilla

The Romans were there a handful of centuries ago. Bolonia, the ruins of the Roman fishing factories where they produced garum and built temples to their gods, is just a stone’s throw away. In their honor we have built our house, like an acropolis in stone, in roman travertine.

© Javier Callejas Sevilla

To give even greater force to the platform we incorporated all the terrain as far back as the entrance wall separating us from the street, also done in Roman travertine. Once inside the wall, the entrance to the house will be via a “trench” in the form of stairs dug into the upper surface of the platform.

© Javier Callejas Sevilla

A Greek poet said that this is a true temenos, a meeting-place, where according to mythology, humans and gods come together.

© Javier Callejas Sevilla

On the denuded stone platform, three walls surround us and protect us from the prevailing strong winds. Sometimes it is as if someone had opened the bag containing the winds of Aeolus. The same winds that drove on the vessel in which Ulysses made his journey home.

© Javier Callejas Sevilla

There is a lovely etching by Rembrandt from 1655, “Christ Presented before the People”, that has always fascinated me. In it, Rembrandt sketches a straight horizontal line. Perfectly straight and perfectly horizontal. It is the border of the powerful dais, the podium upon which the scene takes place. There, as Mies did so often, he has made the plane into a line. I am certain that Rembrandt and Mies would like our podium house, all podium, only podium. As would Adalberto Libera, who did the same thing when he built his Malaparte House in Capri. And we like it too. And when we look at our house from the beach, we will be reminded of all of them.

© Javier Callejas Sevilla

We wanted this house to be capable not only of making time stand still, but to remain in the minds and hearts of humankind.The house of the infinite.

Detail Section
Cite: "The House of the Infinite / Alberto Campo Baeza" 21 Jul 2014. ArchDaily. Accessed 26 Nov 2014. <http://www.archdaily.com/?p=529098>
  • Axio

    So were the photographs taken before any railings were installed on the roof or does spanish building code actually not make safety railings required? Oddly, the detailed section seems to illustrate some kind of rail near the edge, but I simply don’t see them in any of the photos.

    • JYo

      The Spanish building code does require railings in that case. I bet they took the pictures before installing them in order to make the project look more publishable. Or event worst, maybe they only drew them in the CD to get the construction permit…

  • SB

    Seemingly, the photos are renderings. Aren’t they?

  • Marcio Christiano da Silva

    Esplendor minimalista.

  • Marcio Christiano da Silva

    Outra coisa que me impressiona demais em Alberto Campo Baeza: os desenhos executivos. Toda a técnica construtiva, o *saber fazer*, que é irrepreensível, está tudo lá nos desenhos. Really impressing.

  • filipe saur santos

    It is impossible to look at the sea on that bright white terrace. Even the pictures show that. Besides, anyone would fry there during the summer. Actually they will.

  • M

    Some decadent minimalism here. Absolutely stunning project as always.