The design of these two semi detached houses is addressed in a non-conventional way. Although the program for both houses is identical, the layout is not symmetrical. From the beginning the two units were conceived as one single project. Not only does the project answer to the clients needs, but it also offers the possibility of being transformed into one single house, envisaging a wider range of scenarios for its future use.
Although the house is located on a slope, oriented to the south, with many rocky outcrops and is called “los Peñascales” – rocky area in Spanish- the building does not relate to them, it turns its back to the immediate surroundings and rather interacts with the distant Pardo forest and with Madrid´s skyline. In my opinion, this is the key decision of the project, from which the rest derives.
The house somehow denies the surroundings and the abrupt topography of the site by delicately leaning on the rocks with a large horizontal plane that defines the footprint of the building. This noble plane, where the daily life goes on, is covered by a floor made with white calcareus stone.
Once this reference level has been established, the house is organized in two independent parts. Underneath are located the service uses and the car parking, and above the living area of the house. The entrance to the house appears between these two different worlds, through an almost hidden stair, situated around a huge rock.
One single volume houses the rest of the program. It is a hermetic, horizontal prism related to the “footprint plane” in its placement, shape and dimension. Here is where the rest of the program like bedrooms, a little toilet and the main bathroom is organized as well as the zones destined to the study. Against the hillside, the almost hanging concrete box leaves underneath the necessary height for the ground floor to be protected from the sun while preserving the views to the horizon.
A unique bay window located at 1,40 meter of height allows to trim the skyline of the landscape and uniformly illuminates the concrete ceiling. The horizontal void that runs almost through the whole building brings natural light into the first floor, allowing the sun to enter diagonally into the ground floor through the central double height. The independence of levels is only interrupted by double heights that put in relation both spaces described previously.
The objects of the house are clustered and related to one another in such way that in the ground floor, the furniture is reduced to one single element that has very different functions: storage, kitchen, sitting area and entrance windbreak. In the first floor, all the wardrobes are concentrated in one single strip that is attached to the façade, improving the thermal behavior of the building and therefore reducing its energy consumption.
This house hosts two dwelling units, but lacks of house scale. It uses the abstraction of the traditional dwelling elements to mislead the visitor and to attract his attention to specificity of the environment.