Ocampo shell house pool

Crazy and curved both inside and out, this seashell shaped 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.

Ocampo Shell House patio
Ocampo Shell House View

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 artist Octavio Ocampo along with his brother Eduardo Ocampo.

Ocampo Shell House kitchen
Ocampo Shell House interior
Ocampo Shell House bedroom

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.

Ocampo Shell House from above
Ocampo Shell House wall

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.

From Atlas Obscura:

“Construction started in 2001, and took three years to complete. The house is a perfect display of Ocampo’s surrealistic touch meeting summer-home functionality, and adds a unique underwater aesthetic to the neighborhood.”

Ocampo Shell House shower
Ocampo Shell House faucet

“The Ocampos’ masterpiece of the sea is as close to the sea snail lifestyle as a human being can get. Of course the Conch House has all the necessary creature comforts, but its origin in the Caribbean is present throughout. Aside from its impressive likening to the conch on its facade, the shell house features much sea-like detailing inside as well. Sinks and faucets are made from coral and shell, and the master bedroom’s headboard is styled like a massive scallop shell. Paintings of mermaids by Octavio Ocampo hang on the walls.”

Check out another, more modern house shaped like a shell.