Casa de doce pilares
Milena Villalba

Casa de doce pilares

Piano Piano Studio as Architects

Until deciding to build the house, Alberto and Manuela lived very comfortably in their multi- story home in Port Saplaya, where they opened the windows, and their views were of the breadth of the sea and the marina. To be closer to the family, they chose to build the “The Twelve-Pillars House”. The chosen plot on which to start a new life was in the suburban area of Foios, on the border between the town and the agricultural area, flanked by a very quiet street and a park that acts as a buffer before the orange groves. The block had plots with narrow and deep facades that were not yet fully built on.

photo_credit Milena Villalba
Milena Villalba
photo_credit Milena Villalba
Milena Villalba

As it is a development area and being away from the consolidated urban nucleus, there were few references from the environment with which to be able to relate and assimilate. Nor were the regulatory conditions particularly restrictive. The fact of having a non-built environment was good on the one hand, since it would allow us to have more freedom to plan the project. But on the other hand, it is always difficult to make completely decontextualized architecture. So we chose to be faithful to our own references and start the project based on them, designing a house whose volume and envelope would remind us of where we were and tie us to the place in a very conscious way. From the outside, the image of the house is subtle in appearance: known and typical materials for the experienced hands of the local workers: well-executed brick bond and limestone details, controlled openings and a subtle gesture with geometric intention that anticipate the outcome inside.

photo_credit Milena Villalba
Milena Villalba
photo_credit Milena Villalba
Milena Villalba

The project can be divided into three concatenated spaces along the plot in an east-west direction: a first volume that is accessed from the main street host the house and the porch, a second volume on the west end, next to the park, that houses the garage and the barbecue. Between, a patio in which the green element will grow as time goes by. In this way, cross ventilation and distribution are favored. The clients wanted a house that gave a feeling of openness. We proposed a central access through the main facade so that the background perspective from the main door would be the patio helping to have a spaciousness feeling.

photo_credit Milena Villalba
Milena Villalba
photo_credit Milena Villalba
Milena Villalba

When entering the house, a warming feeling invades the area at a standard height, but at the same time, the space is visually connected with the upper hallway which provides a spaciousness and beautiful space. When crossing the access to the most private areas of the house, we reach a space of height and a half which is closed with a sloping roof. Daytime and shared uses happen in that zone. Moving to a different home, should not mean giving up the comforts and habits that one has acquired in a different home over time.

photo_credit Milena Villalba
Milena Villalba

At the opposite end to the access the porch is located, assumed as the space that widens and blurs the boundary between inside and outside. Although in their current house the family meets every Sunday on the roofed terrace of the attic, the same tradition could now continue at the porch equipped with everything necessary for it. The east-west orientation of the house allows taking advantage of the sun and the breeze. The west porch facilitates the afternoon sunlight coming to the interior in winter, as well as acts as defender in the warmer months by providing adequate shade. On the east façade, the access façade, a setback terrace that is shared between the two upper rooms allows to enjoy the cool air facing the sea.

photo_credit Milena Villalba
Milena Villalba

If in the collective imagination the sloping tile roof and the brick facade are associated with a traditional house and popular architecture, and linked us consciously to the place, the intent inside was the opposite. We proposed open spaces reducing the closed volumes to the minimum and in which the crossed views and the introduction of light came from above. The structure is resolved with circular and slender metallic profiles that are visible, the twelve pillars, which arrange the space and give the sensation of having an ethereal cover. This feeling of lightness is reinforced by the staircase which, beyond being a massive element, is quite the opposite: a light staircase also built with metal profiles. In front of this delicate element, a piece is built at the opposite end that houses bathrooms and a pantry emerging as a very forceful sculptural element.

photo_credit Milena Villalba
Milena Villalba

We have tried to make a very simple proposal for the required domestic program, in which the construction system is clear, defined, and easy to execute. We tried to make a delicate piece that unites the town with the orchard through double heights, crossed views, sloping roofs and spaces that expand and contract, that welcome you as you go into its journey.

photo_credit Milena Villalba
Milena Villalba

Team:
Architect: Piano Piano Studio
Photography: Milena Villalba
Technical architect: Luis Ros / Diego Romero
Collaborators: Paula Cerverón / Elif Lahor. architecture students
Builder: Construccions Piquer Ferrer
Calculation of structures: Temcco

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