The ISH 02 house forms part of the Inhabitat Study Houses, in the province of Alicante. All of them have a common feature: defining a high-quality way of life based on functionality and formalism, with a very unique way of slotting themselves into the location. Herein, we shall clarify this approach.
The house is located on a plot of La Fustera urbanisation, within the municipality of Benissa. It is a quiet, consolidated urbanisation close to the beach, where the predominant typology is similar to the one in question: single-family houses spread over two levels. However, as is so common on the Mediterranean coast (so very developed throughout the last fifty years), the language of the neighbouring buildings, as well as in many other urbanisations along the coast, added to the sins of falling into folklore, rusticism and style, create a constructive amalgamation of doubtful architectural value. In these developments, although their urban design also deserves a mention, it is fair to say that they have always integrated open spaces and vegetation, regarding this as a basic need.
The plot, with an area of 918 m2 and a trapezoidal geometry with four sides, presents a slope of approximately 12,5% in its north-south direction, reaching a drop of about 8,40 m. These four sides correspond to the boundaries of neighbouring properties, with a distinct presence of trees in all their adjoining areas (half of them unbuilt), connecting with the road through a 35-meter track on the north side of it.
This data on its irregular topography, and the presence of abundant vegetation, fortunately native and well preserved, leads nomarq to propose a house that is “supported” on a platform, leaving the rest of the plot terraced; for which a study of the existing trees has been carried out, alleviating their condition by the construction process itself.
On top of this, acting as both an extension of the house and as an exterior plaza, the house is erected, defined by the rules of a pure geometry with two round bodies, one in an L shape (ground floor) and the other longitudinal (first floor). These are placed in juxtaposition and from the outside define cantilevers and spaces that touch, and inside, a series of paths, diagonals and double height spaces. Thus, the exterior, of extreme and almost brutal simplicity becomes rich and complex inside, with great spatial diversity and a very thoughtful use of light.
The ground floor hosts the main uses of the house: social spaces and the main bedroom, reserving the upper floor for the rest of the bedrooms with their corresponding bathrooms. The house is organised in order to enjoy the orientation that best suits each of these uses. Thus, it opens to the east, to the Mediterranean Sea, through a porch that dilutes the harshness of the sun in these latitudes and manages to extend the horizon, which opens onto the pool terrace with views of the sea. At its rear, facing west, the house is presented in a more forceful, opaque way, allowing controlled lighting through skylights in the roof. This type of orientation generates lighting throughout the day and cross ventilation that enables passive thermal control of the building.