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Fusion of craft and technology in the new Enric Ruiz-Geli house


With Mediterranean architecture as its basis, Enric Ruiz-Geli / Cloud 9 have designed a house with cutting-edge technology in one of the most idyllic enclaves of the Costa Brava, Aiguablava in Begur. The architectural integration into the landscape is a response to their concern with reinventing the area’s residential architecture, proposing an organic language in constant dialogue with nature. In fact, the shape is no accident: it was gradually parameterized according to the different viewing angles of the surrounding landscape until volumes of sinuous lines were obtained, whose profiles give a new outline to the setting. In addition, the landscape architect Silvia Burés collaborated in the gardening project by basing herself on the scrupulous observance of the native flora, seeking to “reactivate the Mediterranean landscape”, in the words of Ruiz-Geli.

The pavilions that give shape to the house are arranged like mushrooms on a structural central foot and are spread around the plot to reduce their environmental impact. A chameleon-like ceramic skin draws a grid over the roofs that imitates the hues and shapes of leaves while reflecting solar radiation. The undulating roofs pay homage to the traditional "volta catalana" (Catalan vault), though here they are built from glass fiber 6cm thick, from a single piece for lightweight, ultra-strong formwork. This provides an interior 300-m2 surface entirely free of pillars.

The project is the commission of a Swiss family attracted by the Mediterranean lifestyle, to which Ruiz-Geli responded with an experimental proposal and a holistic approach, halfway between his Villa Nurbs and the future elBulli headquarters.

One of his achievements was to connect traditional crafts, feeding the area’s entrepreneurial fabric, with the most cutting-edge avant-garde construction, always guided by environmental and energy sustainability criteria. It is not for nothing that the house boasts energy class “A”: its climate control is based on an aerothermal system and the water supply on the use of rainwater. It also has a home automation system to control it all.

Adjacent to the home is an experimental pavilion made in collaboration with the Art Center College of Design de Pasadena, an inflatable scheme into which quick-setting concrete is injected. This additional piece in the residential site is defined as a “Mediterranean case study” in which technology also plays a central role.


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