Among 449 projects submitted, the judges of the 13th Spanish Biennale of Architecture and Urbanism highlighted 22 pieces of work “for their attitude, completely different from anything ever suggested before in interventions on heritage sites, the city and the landscape”.
Casa de los Vientos, by the architect José Luis Muñoz Muñoz, forms part of the list of exquisite feats of construction, as it perfectly responds to the requirements on absolute respect for the urban surroundings, the natural environment and the landscape, and for the resources available in the shape of an outstanding exercise in contemporary design.
It could be said that just as was the case of the projects chosen for the Spanish pavilion for the International Biennale of Venice, this is an example of rigorous adaptation to the times society is living through. Orientation, protection, materials, simple construction systems, and formal and economic containment are the words that best define this two-storey house that is high enough for it to have views of the sea, the Rock of Gibraltar and the beaches of Sotogrande.
One of the most praiseworthy values of this home is the outdoor space. The porches, terraces, windbreak walls and the viewpoints make it possible to have a different experience of the house on every day of the year depending of the wind direction.
Inside, the bedrooms can be found on the ground floor. Upstairs, the architect has designed a large platform that houses the kitchen, the dining area and the living room in a south-east facing space overlooking the pool and the sea, all of which is protected from the southerly wind. The colder and stronger prevailing easterly wind is avoided thanks to the geometry of the building’s first floor. A final terrace protected from the easterly winds, facing south and sufficiently protected, has views of the Rock of Gibraltar and Morocco.
The exposed low-density breeze block load-bearing walls and reinforced concrete on the ground floor in a single sheet barely 30 centimetres thick are the materials chosen to build this house. The limited budget for the whole of the project forced the architect to keep a tight rein on the financial side of things, which was part of the remit in the creative process from the outset of the intervention.
Despite the constraints, the project blends perfectly into the landscape and manages to fit in a pool of exceptional characteristics. A dip?
© Photos: Javier Callejas Sevilla