Font de l’art

Hybrid spaces

The project is a single-family building with partitioned walls, placed on a trapezoid shape plot on the edge of the historic area of the small town of Adsubia, dominated by a south facing orientation towards the main street, and on the north side towards a ravine and the view of the rest of the town.

The plot is marked by its own identity; since in the past it harboured an oil press, its typological character of “old warehouse” as well as its constructive vestiges still remain: a stone masonry wall of large proportions dominates the northern side and also extends to the west, continuing across adjoining plots, and thus knits together the consolidated tissue. The intervention in this wall will mean not only the reconstruction of the urban image, but also a recovery of the great sentimental value of a construction with such a local implication.

In this environment the new construction has been birthed, made up of a basement, a ground floor with access through the southern façade, a first floor and a flat roof. Responding to a defined-use program by the owner where the flexibility of spaces is a must, the dialogue between the inherited and the created, between the comprehension of the material heritage and the necessary contemporaneity is established.

The construction is presented as a home, mainly developed over the first floor, with a ground level, a garage, and a big warehouse or working area in the basement; it could also be seen as a guest or residents’ area on the first floor, an exhibition hall on the ground floor, and a big studio in the basement. The building configuration carries in its DNA the opportunity of adapting to very diverse situations.

The different storeys are configured as diaphanous spaces, alterable, marked by singular elements and of vertical connection: the great wall of stone masonry consolidates and embraces the new construction binding one storey with the other; the stairs act as a sculptural element, subtle, straight, and tenacious, which guide the movement through the house. On the last storey, a kitchen and a bathroom, integrated almost as pieces of fixed furniture but invisible, narrow the space; and the light passes through the building as an extra compositional element.

The whole house is sustained by four metal HEB pillars, above which rests a corrugated sheet metal slab, backed on the edge. These, joined by IPE beams, allow for the freeing up in the back north area of a double height space between the basement and the ground level, and create a terrace on the first level, whose transparent floor floods the whole building with light. The stairs, the same as the light, hang from the horizontal elements.

In this way, the new house integrates the landscape in the form of a view, as well as the culture in the form of constructive memories, but only lightly touches them, without invading or harassing them, and without creating a rigidity that could prevent this exchange from being cut off in future times.

Architecture is constantly oscillating between dualities. It intervenes in a place through constructions, in most cases the product of deliberation between opposing options and, searches for balance and coherence through spatial, visual, compositional, and constructive relations. This is just the first step of the architectural game.
The villagers still find in this masonry the nourishment for their conversations and walks. Photo © Milena Villalba, 2016
nomarq has searched the creation of a house that adapts not only to the owner’s day to day life, but also to the villagers. Photo © Milena Villalba, 2016
The project recreates the ‘big warehouse’, a container of heterogeneous activity that does not digress from the traditional lifestyle of the place. Photo © Milena Villalba, 2016
The inner intimacy is in contrast with the exterior, a quiet dialogue held between different spaces and different phases. Photo © Milena Villalba, 2016
There is a non-forced integration between the pre-existences and the new construction, as well as between the landscape and the interior of the construction. Photo © Milena Villalba, 2016
Intervening in a place with historical meaning, in a natural environment, or in a consolidated urban area, will always require the adoption of a posture, a strategic decision which enables the fulfilment of needs related to a context, but which at the same time can deal with changing situations over the years, resolving them with self-determination, resilience and quality.
A clever construction can create a dialogue between seemingly opposing positions. This is like a canvas architecture, where the support is offered so that the user can develop his own work, where what is done and that which is left undone, together produce architecture.