Marunys Shell House

Marunys Shell House

Sant Joan les Fonts, Spain | View Map
Project Year
Private Houses
© Pep Sau

Marunys Shell House

unparelld'arquitectes as Architects

The building, compact in appearance, is located at the top of a hill on the outskirts of the town limits. One could say that the house completes the physiography of the area. The entrance, dominated by a small square and a continuous bench, silhouettes the highest point and broadens the crossing of two roads. The convex northern façade gives a geometric form to the road’s outline. In contrast, the southern façade has a concave shape which embraces the garden, helped by tiered auxiliary volumes.

This apparent unevenness of the perimeter conceals an orderly orthogonal structure consisting in six parallel galleries. In some way, it can be seen as a rectangular house with a pitched roof and with chamfered façades. The building stands face to face with Marunys country house. Their narrow façades face each other from both sides of the road and flank it. The new building establishes a physical relationship with the old one, while also creating bonds with the local building tradition. The Shell house and the country house actually share the same module and structural system, volumetry and adaptation mechanisms typological to the site.

The set is designed with laminar structures, which gain inertia thanks to their bent or curved shapes. Façades and roofs are defined by a screen of reinforced concrete which is effectively folded to provide stability to the structure, and high enough to serve as a beam which covers the entrance and porch. The shell is accurately perforated, basically with two differently sized square holes, in addition to the porch’s French windows. Each window responds to a position, a light and a viewpoint over the volcanic landscape.

The interior of the space is accompanied by the ceiling’s concave shape. On the upper floor, rooms are defined by the intrados of the roof’s two slopes. The ground floor is devised as one only space with differentiated areas and corners. The vaulted structure essentially contributes to singling out the spaces, crowning each and every one of the activities taking place in them.

The ceiling is also responsible for creating a refined lining for the house’s interior, in contrast to the rough nature of the concrete found on the exterior. The rhomboid pattern drawn on the vault takes us to the world of textiles and patterns in the same way as that scraping of the wooden facing evokes wallpaper. It is part of the decoration, understood as the layer we place between our clothing and the house’s walls. However, in this case it cannot be separated from the bearing structure in itself, and in some way, it transforms the ceilings into an element which is sensitive to light and chromatic variations, acting like a voice box which amplifies all interactions with the environment.

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