If Wright and Le Corbusier were around today they might just agree that this home is the best of both Modernist worlds – combining the free-flowing Prairie Style interpretations of the former and the hard and linear Bauhaus concrete forms of the latter.
“Comfortable” and “concrete” rarely go together, but the balance out outward-looking, floor-to-ceiling windows, groomed landscape and surrounding forests help to offset the stark contemporary white, black and gray interiors.
The whole structure sitting within a single story helps as well, making it feel more tied to the ground (and effect reinforced by green ramps and roofs). Whether or not A Cero directly borrowed these strategies from early Modernists is hard to say, but it seems to work regardless.
Seasonal colors outside are largely left to speak for themselves, with bedroom, dining room and bathroom interiors dominated by muted tones, sharp lines and the occasional splash of blue or red – though a large-scale projection screen in the media room and some dynamic dining room lighting add interest as well.
So, would you feel at home in this house despite the extensive use of concrete, or is it still too minimalist for your tastes? One final touch that might have helped to offset the heavy architecture and material qualities: a little less landscaping and a bit more wild plant life outside of the structure, but to each his (or her) own, as they say.
Here’s a description of the project, straight from the architects. The firm was founded by Joaquin Torres Architects & Rafael Llamazares in 1996.
“The architecture studio A-cero presents one of its last works about a big single-family house. It takes place in the outskirts of Madrid on a 5,000 m2 plot. It is a single storey building and it has a 1,600 m2 built surface.”
“The first sensation that this house produces when people go into the plot is that the building seems to be hidden between concrete walls and vegetable ramps that extend up to the roof. They are dyed in dark gray and contain, between them, vegetation areas that seem to climb towards the sky. The house´s façade show a spectacular organic view of the whole house and so even the hard concrete shows its most kind face.”
“The back front of the house is totally opened towards the garden where the lounge, dining room, library, study and bedrooms are. In this façade the wide windows, the volumes set and the projections (made of concrete too enhance. These elements cover the several houses’ porches. The large window of the main lounge hides itself automatically in order to make this stay completely opened to the exterior areas.”
“The plot includes also an elegant garden, a small lake and a padel track. The ecological aspect is very in this A-cero´s work: the façade and the roof have the main ecological roles because they are covered with low consume vegetation. Furthermore on the house´s roof has been implemented a renewable energy system made of wide surfaces with solar tubular collectors who allow that the energy autonomy of the house.”