Detached house

These basal parameters of architecture are interpreted in the Casa l’Aspre, a house in the Alicante town of Orba, situated on a pentagonal plot of nearly 1000m². The plot in a pencil-like form is marked by a steep slope, as is common in this area, which descends from south to north, surrounded by the perpetual presence of the sea, by Mediterranean vegetation of the characteristic green of the east, and by a residential and extensive occupation of the land.

In terms of the location of the plot, the house is situated on the central part of the terrain, a position which allows it to frame the best panoramas, including the sea in the background. Access to the house is thus found at the lowest level, connected to the street and establishing the first point of promenade of the Aspre House. The organisation of the outdoor space results from the topography of the terrain, but also from the desire to preserve the existing woodland on the plot. In the aridity of the new house terrain, in which varying stone materials overlap, one can also spot the presence of forgotten vegetation throughout the house, giving it an enhancing backdrop.

On the ascending trail to the house, the pathways of the plot create an alignment of visuals, in which the volumes of the house, placed like two superposed parts are seen in their ultimate grandiosity. In this way, the Aspre House is structured over two levels, two boxes of reinforced concrete, of an expressive nature, orthogonally situated and supported by the same stonework walls which divide the garden. Each room, responding to the programme of uses, whilst also possessing clear relational intentions, is dedicated to a day and night use on the ground and first floors respectively. At the convergence of both prisms, the access is found, distorting itself slightly towards the interior of one of its larger sides in order to indicate the entry and preserve part of the existing vegetation. The hard concrete doubles up on itself so that the tree can grow, like flowers born of a rock, whilst also enabling the appearance of intermediary spaces such as galleries and terraces.

If outside this contrast between hard and soft is created, between lifeless and living, inside there is a contrast between material and light, between earthly and heavenly. The house fills itself with air, suggesting weightlessness, ascension, lightness. The central space, the convergence of the two bodies and the only space at twice the height of the house, acts like a hinge, a vertical axis which enables the rotation of the visual elements. Here is where the staircase is situated, acting like a funnel and separating (although not physically), the uses of the ground floor kitchen and lounge, from the bedrooms and studio of the upper floor. In this way, the hallways mark the gradation of “solitude,” without needing to physically fragment the space, allowing for the understanding of the two volumes under the light as one room of great fluidity and enabling different levels of intimacy and opaqueness.

Light and volume work in unison and can be seen through the composition of the pathways of an architectonic work. Le Corbusier, with its uber-known catchphrase, “architecture is the wise game (...) of volumes under the light,” supported the story of an obsession: that of the study of light, its movement, to the point of taking form like a part of the five points of architecture.
This irregular form favours the choice of reinforced concrete, due to its malleability as a structural element. Photo © Milena Villalba, 2015
The choice of cantilever walls as a structural solution will allow the highlighting of the volumes of the house in the most expressive way. Photo © Milena Villalba, 2015
The house enhances the games of light and shade, just as the baroque twisting did, but with levels and meeting spaces of great cleanliness. Photo © Milena Villalba, 2015
The inner space is diluted, it expands, it is ignited, injected with light. Photo © Milena Villalba, 2015
In this geometric operation of rotation, in spite of the enormity of the bodies, the construction expresses movement. Photo © Milena Villalba, 2015
A massive exterior stresses the weight of the architecture, dominated by the laws of physics and balance. Photo © Milena Villalba, 2015
In its compositional narrative, a further concept, la promenade architectural, marked the relationship between the body and the elements of a work, including this movement as a reason for the endeavour. Light and bodies in movement like the heartbeat of a fluid and continuous spaciousness.
The Aspre House does not produce indifference, but instead, in each area, it manages to transmit an emotion, frame and empower itself with a piece of the landscape, or hide itself from it, using architectural principles, treating itself like a further element of construction and producing structures situated in the landscape which simultaneously feed off of it.