Concrete Conch: Spiral Shell-Inspired Fractal Beach House


Crazy and curved both inside and out, the home was made of a combination of concrete and found materials, both inorganic but also natural (and relevant) ones including local seashells and regional coral.

Instead of corners, each curve flows fluidly into the next to make for a series of experiential spaces that mimic the infinitude of the fractals that form them. Best of all, it is perfectly sited on the beach of a remote southern island – surrounded by similar shapes.?The one thing that is not surprising about this house may be the person who inhabits it: yes, it was designed by and for an artist (Octavio Ocampo).

The tension between ‘art’ and ‘design’ is palpable – some aspects (like the spiked roof) are purely ornamental and artistic, while others (including a second-story deck in the ‘opening’ of the ‘shell’) seem to be functional as structures and spaces.

Swirling stacks of mixed stone form curved fences that reflect the organic nature of the main ‘shell house’ buildings and curvalinear window openings. Perhaps the only unfortunate parts of the design are the doors and windows, which are forced to conform to the curves around them but ultimately contain straightened elements that clash with the overall fluid forms.

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