James&Mau is a firm of architects that also founded Infiniski, a green concept construction company. It has now made a modular home of unbeatable quality a reality, both in terms of architecture and eco-friendliness. Although the sea is not very close to the plot, thanks to its high position on a slope and the way the building has been arranged as if it were a viewpoint, spectacular views of the magnificent horizon can be seen from Casa Tarifa. On a foundation wall that goes around the house, one of the living spaces was left empty where the architects built in a swimming pool. The overall composition is reminiscent of the typical country houses found in Andalusia.

The house is divided into six rooms. Each of them is closed off to form a single volume perfectly discernible from the rest. This distribution was proposed by the client, who was looking for something more than just a house. The outdoor spaces between the “boxes” can be turned into livable spaces that can be used for a myriad of purposes: eating in the shade, resting on a comfortable sofa or just looking at the sea in the distance.

The whole building is covered by a steel mesh pergola, which makes it possible to control the effects of the sun in summer and the weather in winter, thus conferring a prime level of comfort on the home.

The importance of water in the house

The house is rich in passageways and in views of the surrounding landscape, but one feature takes pride of place: the pool. Measuring 15 metres in length and 4 metres wide, it sits at the foot of the house to blend in with the livable spaces and provide an attractive background for the plants in front of it. In addition, parts of it are found between the home’s rooms. Little by little, the house has taken over the surroundings so that it feels part of the landscape.

There is a strong presence of water throughout this project. It can be seen from almost every corner of the house. Even lying in bed in the master bedroom. Almost as significant was the choice of the industrial-like construction. An increasingly more common strategy, it keeps costs, the building time and environmental pollution down. Casa Tarifa is a magnificent example of respect for architecture in every dimension: its compositional and constructive rigour, and its clear commitment to protecting the planet. Sheep’s wool was used as insulation and the interior walls were covered in cellulose fibre and natural plaster. The house is heated using biomass and the water using solar panels. Neither chlorine nor other chemical products are used for treating and purifying the pool water. Each water inlet between the house´s volumes form a pond that contains aquatic plants for purifying the water.


Photographs: © Erika Mayer www.erikamayer.at