Construction year: 2012
Architect(s): Elisa Valero
Address: Av. Estanque, 6, 42164 Almarza, Soria, Spain
Latitude/Longitude: 41.91491, -2.47745
Place, program, and construction determined the form of this house designed in close collaboration with the client. The strategy of this home consists of generating a container, a straightforward rectangular concrete volume with a sloped roof that contains the different living spaces. The inside is presided over by a fireplace, the hearth, and the main spaces open off of it through water, reflected light, towards the outdoors. Through the large southern opening, separated by a long, narrow swimming pool, four-century-old oak trees stand out against the Sorian sky. A porch runs through the entire volume, leading to a space that functions as a garage and entry. Then, a large space contains the living room, dining room and kitchen areas with a fireplace, all with a double-height ceiling. The ground floor is completed by the main bedroom, baths, and a dressing room-gallery. The upper floor has the library and two bedrooms-baths.
Research into living space, an approach to inhabiting natural surroundings, with no more pretentions that household comfort, precise use of light and water. Allowing the sun to enter and warm the room in the morning during the cold but sunny Sorian winters. Allowing the water from the reservoir or pool that becomes an ice mirror in the winter and a lane for swimming in the summer to reflect the light of its movement on the indoor ceiling.
Architecture with no greater pretention than building in an efficient, coherent and straightforward manner. Taking advantage of the concrete shell to obtain a twenty-meter light opening in the southern façade, and allowing that same concrete to age until it acquires the same color as the surrounding boulders. Optimizing the home’s conditions and responding to them in a sensible way. Twenty centimeters of thermal insulation to fight the cold. A payla fireplace in the center of the house heats the air and the water in a coil wound around it, for storage in a thermal tank. A space between outdoors and indoors for arriving and leaving the car. A sloped roof for draining off the snow. The smallest possible number of openings, and little else. Nothing else. The oak trees in the garden were already there, and they showed us where to build
Contributed by Elisa Valero