House in Sant Antoni de Vilamajor: Abstracted Tonalities. ― 

Contemporary Spanish architecture is famous for its bold uses of color, combining natural and industrial materials. Already from their formative years, young architects are encouraged to use color instead of a mere black and white in their presentation drawings, and this has developed into a distinctive design sensibility: The colors of the landscape, and the outlines of articulations between different structural and cladding elements, are highlighted with color from the initial design stage; the artistic quality of these architectural drawings is then translated into buildings, keeping the abstracted power of color into the built environment.

Barcelona-based Arquitectura G is one of the relatively young, yet very prolific architecture offices that emerged from the first decade of this century; in their house in Sant Antoni de Vilamajor, in the outskirts of Granollers, they use a restrained material palette, further abstracted with the use of opulent red colors. The house is located in a plot with a steep ascendant incline, with views and good natural lighting in the higher area. The slope is gently terraced with rough natural stone at the entrance, matching the texture of the walls, that are built in white sand-colored cement blocks. The interior space is defined in-between a terracotta ceramic tile floor  and a corrugated metal roof: The natural, vibrant red hue of the floor is duplicated in the coating of the roof, and the same abstraction is applied to all other structural elements, from sliding opening frames to freestanding columns in-between. The same reddish palette is extended from the inside out, on the gravel paving the way to the entrance on the ground, as well as in the reclining tents providing shade to the upper level.

The project stands out for an evident separation between the day area and the night area, which is emphasized even more through the construction system and the structure of each of them. On the one hand, the day area, in contact with the land, is defined through a heavy wall structure. On the other hand, the night area, elevated from the plot, is conceived with a light construction system and a porticoed structure that stands on top of the basement / parking.

The stepped shape of the day area defines the program without the need of dividing the space with walls, thus ensuring visuals from one side to the other. There is also a clear hierarchy in the spaces’ size, in order to define the different uses: study – dining room – kitchen – living room (from small to big). However, we can find a lineal scheme without hierarchy in the bedroom sequence. They are opened to the common area through big double shutter doors and they are elevated beyond the concrete block volume, looking for better natural lighting.

Through a horizontal glass plane that defines a skylight, the contact between the common area volume (white) and the bedroom / storage volume (red) is avoided, in order to separate and emphasize even more the two worlds. Equally, this skylight provides the hallway with natural light. This cut also creates an axis in the house that is emphasized with a sequence of pillars that shows the weight of the vegetal roof and is extended until the garden of the house, merging with the landscape.

Architecture by: arquitectura-g

Photography: © josé hevia