The customer is always right, but what about the client? As any practicing architect known, clients can be wonderful collaborators or painful barriers to the creative process – hence this series of homes commissioned outside the normal designer/resident duality.
The Solo Houses project starts with a specific region and set of properties, then unleash a select set of young and talented architects given relatively free range (though, of course, a still-limited budget) to work with the context and landscape to create something suitable and unique.
Chilean studio Pezo von Ellrichshausen Architects is one of the first design groups on board, tackling an area south of Catalonia with a perched concrete podium that rises up out of the landscape. Surely not suited to every would-be buyer, it requires someone whose needs match it after the fact but, perhaps, does not feel the desire to be deal with designing or building.
Though certainly not for those light on cash, this series represents a fascinating trend away from conventional relationships in the realm of residential architecture. The results are almost more like collectibles for connoisseurs than traditional habitats – a chance for some, perhaps, to own the work of famous architectural creators before their fame comes to fruition (like speculation in the art market).
“Christian Bourdais «Solo Houses» venture becomes most evident by making the journey to Cretas, an untouched forest area in the mountainous region of Matarraña just north-east of the natural park Els Ports, located in the centre of the triangle Barcelona–Valencia–Saragossa. Here, in the midst of a one hundred hectares plot of pure nature, one feels all of a sudden truly ‘solo’ – alone and magically isolated and disconnected from every day turbulences.”
“The ‘Solo Houses,’ an on-going project of contemporary small resort-prototypes conceived by a New Garde of international young architects: Sou Fujimoto, Johnston Marklee, Pezo Von Elrichshausen, Christ & Gantenbein, Kersten Geers et David Van Severen (Office KGDVS), Didier Faustino, Bijoy Jain (Studio Mumbai), Anne Holtrop, Barozzi Veiga, Rintala Eggerston, Michael Meredith et Hilary Sample (MOS), Go Hasegawa, Kuehn Malvezzi, Tatiana Bilbao, Makoto Takei & Chie Nabeshima (TNA) Smiljan Radic, Bas Smets. These architectural experiences will harmoniously be integrated into a new generation hotel proposal.”