In Barcelona, the temperatures hover between 60 and 75 degrees Fahrenheit for most of the year, seeing just a handful of rainy days every month. Located on the east coast of the Iberian Peninsula, this Catalonian gem of a city boasts the kind of balmy subtropical climate that makes you want to be outdoors as much as possible. Drive just a little bit inland from the city center toward higher ground, and you’ll find yourself in the stunning Parc Natural de Sant Llorenç del Munt i l’Obac, a nationally protected scenic area full of giant red monoliths and rocky cliffs. If your home was set along the edge of this preserve, looking out onto its black pines and unique geological features, wouldn’t you want to have your windows open pretty much all the time?
Spanish architecture studio Narch designed a breezy, cool concrete residence for a family with two young children and fitted it with huge sliding glass walls that open the interiors to this park, which lies just beyond their backyard. “Calders House,” technically located in the small village of Calders, is set into a sandy hillside, with its driveway and main entrance located at street level on the upper floor. This reversal of the conventional home arrangement allows the living spaces to open up directly to the garden outside, blurring the distinctions between the house, the yard, and the park itself.
Moving from the garage into the upper level of the home places you in a transitional open-air space used as a shaded terrace and play area. This area also boasts a versatile indoor/outdoor loft that overlooks the home’s double-height living room. Here, you see the first of the home’s impressive sliding walls, which can be fully opened to get breezes moving through the entire space and let out heat in the summertime. Architects Joan Ramon Pascuets and Mònica Mosset also tucked a studio into the back of the upper level, which itself enjoys views of the mountains and a visual connection to the downstairs area while maintaining the feeling of separation typically desired in a workspace.
An airy, lightweight white metal staircase leads you down to the main level, where the kitchen, dining room, and bedrooms are located. Exterior walls are almost nonexistent, so it feels like the top level is simply cantilevered over the downstairs when all the glazing is open. One corner of the house is devoid of any supports, so you can hang out in the living room and feel like you’re outside while enjoying all the comforts of home, like the couch and the television. The bedrooms are just on the other side of a wood-paneled wall, and they too can enjoy a seamless outdoor experience.
“We wanted to design a house that is more like exterior garden than interior, a space in which furniture and plants are placed directly under the blue sky,” say the architects. “Our aim is a living space with a feeling of openness and connection to the richness of the environment.”
It’s safe to say that Narch has achieved this goal and delivered an unforgettable living experience to their clients — one that meets their needs and exceeds their expectations.