on a sloping plot of the cabo de gata-níjar natural park, in spain, architecture office josé francisco garcía-sánchez (JFGS) built ‘jacaranda house’, a spacious residence opening towards the mediterranean sea. presenting a familiar domestic program for a four-member family with an active social life, the dwelling takes shape as a minimalist composition of concrete, brick, and glass with integrated dry stone walls and natural terraces.


the main structure is configured in three levels, laying on a large horizontal platform alongside a pool. at the intermediate level, which is formed as a completely open platform overlooking the sea, there is the living room, the kitchen, the production area, and the dependent services, as well as a guest bedroom. meanwhile, three bedrooms are located on the upper level, as well as the garage that is accessed from an outside ramp. last but not least, the storage and facilities areas are located on the level below the pool platform.

the jacaranda house by JFGS (find more here) has two entrances, the first one on the upper level and the other one at the pool platform which is accessed from an exterior stone pedestrian staircase that descends from the street. the concrete volume is placed on the lower level, supported by five exposed concrete pillars shaped with an irregular triangular plan. these large pillars are seen from the facade as flared elements that produce thickness and depth in the thresholds that are formed. but some of them, such as the one in the corner, when perceived from an oblique position, are presented to the viewer almost as a concrete ‘paper sheet’.


the residence features three interior stairs, a main one and two service stairs at the ends. non-finite routes are proposed, allowing continuous itineraries. for example, it is possible to go up from the main floor through one of the stairs, and go down by another one. if we add the external stairs that join the three levels, the possibilities of movement are multiplied, as well as the experience of the different routes. in a similar way, all rooms and bedrooms in the house have at least two possible connections with adjacent spaces. this allows all areas to be understood as places of stay or transit. this freedom of movement offers the inhabitant and the visitor a broader vision during the domestic experience.

as far as the materiality palette is concerned, SET architects has followed a phenomenological approach. texture, materiality, roughness, as well as its behavior in the light are taken deeply into consideration, and are associated with the human senses. ultimately, the design rejects the monopoly of the eye, encouraging residents to experience the space with their touch, hearing, or smell.

following the mediterranean tradition, the entire exterior façade is whitewashed, unifying materials by color, but allowing the textures and materiality of each one to emerge —except for some of the exterior walls that act as containment of the land which are left in the natural color of the cement.

still, jacaranda house aims to present itself as a contemporary architecture that has received material and formal references of modern twentieth century architecture, but which has also investigated some issues that have been the subject of study and research throughout history, such as weight, gravity, thickness, matter or abstraction. the project aims to presents itself as if it was an inhabited structure, an infrastructure arranged on the desert landscape of cabo de gata. the formal abstraction of this landscape coexists with the organicism with which the terracing of the plot and the garden is resolved.

Source: Designboom

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