LocationJerez de la Frontera, Spain
Lead ArchitectRafael Iniesta Nowell
Technical ArchitectLuis Gutiérrez Sancho
ConstructorFragou Construcciones SLU
Text description provided by the architects. The project departs from the reconstruction of a small portion of the neighbourhood. A piece of city, hidden from all and existing only for a few neighbours. It can be described as the search for good cross ventilation, uniform natural lighting and as the fight for the last habitable centimetre, but we can also talk about the city.
The client, an English writer and globetrotter, requested what in London is called a "Backland House" but an Andalusian version of it. These interventions are driven by the need to find urban land at an affordable price for building housing that is able to recover the forgotten past, densifying the urban fabric, transforming those hidden spaces and in this case the yard of an old neighbourhood house in San Miguel de Jerez de la Frontera.
The "whys" of all the variables and conditions of this house have not been questioned, but the "hows". How should the light enter, how should it be built, how will it be used, what situations will be generated in relation to the bordering courtyard or what will the succession of events be after someone exists the door and before they reach the street.
Questions that lead us to an investigation and to an improvement of the process and the project, as well as a much more adequate result.
The house is built on a small scale, immediate, almost like a large piece of furniture made of bricks and concrete. We take any necessary means and gestures to let the light enter and to create ventilation.
The program was in short a room with a large kitchen and (as the ordinance allows) a small tower as a room. When it comes to organizing the space of 33m2 each centimetre counts; a small toilet set against the kitchen furniture, a skylight hidden in the terrace taking advantage of the rise of the staircase, an airy ground floor and a large window opening to the courtyard.
The position of the small bedroom that the regulations allow to build is played with on the first floor, placing it in the center, halfway between a terrace and "the jungle", named so by its owner, a courtyard that houses a small pool and a large variety of exotic plants as souvenirs from travels in Asia.
The figures carved in exotic wood and the radios of the time when the owner distributed the newspaper on Fleet St in London are memories of travels to distant lands and of a whole lifetime. This is a house that never gets finished, one that is lived and that is given sense to by its owner, having an atmosphere of its own.
We used natural and traditional materials from the area: ceramics, lime and wood. We faced the challenge of executing a low-cost architecture committed to the place which we think has served to solve problems and to discover a new corner in a neighbourhood as vivid as this one.