In its design approach to Fresnos (translated as Ashes), Madrid-based architectural studio Delavegacanolasso set about creating “a simple and pleasant house” surrounded by nature. The project’s scope was determined by its rugged setting: a sloping site with an abundance of pine trees and holm oaks. The studio placed the house in a natural clearing between the pines — hidden from the road but open to the forest, the development altered as little of the terrain as possible.
Anchored on a sloping hillside, Delavegacanolasso designed a house that works as a large porch. The structure starts at the terrain’s natural height — from here, it is supported by an intermediate wall, finishing in a cable-stayed cantilever. On the home’s terrace, a hole has been cut out to allow the trunk of a pine to pass through.
“We thought the way to touch the ground as little as possible was through an industrialized system,” says Delavegacanolasso. “But at the same time, we wanted to incorporate the grace and nuances of a traditional approach.” For the studio, a mix of the two methods was most appropriate: Delavegacanolasso combined a series of prefabricated tini® modules (a project developed by the studio) with handmade whitewashed brick walls. The main house comprises bedrooms and bathrooms in two modules and kitchen, living, and dining areas in three modules, which are extended to create the large porch; a separate, free-standing module is used as an office.
Floor-to-ceiling windows at the front of each module provide an abundance of natural light and views across the landscape. The steel window frames retain their raw quality. Module walls are made from wood: heat-treated pine in the house and carbonized recovered pine in the office (hence the name Fresnos). Softer woods are used for the interior spaces: pine plywood for the house interior and birch for the office interior. Rustic limestone flooring complements the soft wood and furnishings from Morocco add quirky touches of color.
Pine and gravel sleepers, laid along the site’s natural slope, lead from a simple garage structure to both the main house and office. The pine forest acts as the home’s organic garden. Delavegacanolasso planted fig, lemon, and orange trees as well as a variety of flowers. The studio added a small pond in the lower part of the garden which collects rainwater from the roofs via a copper pipe.
In the design of Fresnos and the studio’s work more generally, Delavegacanolasso is influenced by the Case Study Houses that were experiments in mid-century American residential architecture (a notable example of which is the Eames House aka Case Study House No. 8).