Family houses

Port de la Selva, Girona. Spain

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Girasol House

Eduardo Cadaval y Clara Solà-Morales, arquitectos

Description Technical file

A landscape of magnificent sea views but difficult climatic conditions has been approached in this project through an elaborate sensitivity towards the landscape and a serious analysis of the environmental derivations.

Girasol House is in an exceptional location on the border between the Mediterranean sea and the craggy coastline of the Costa Brava, between the wild nature of Cabo de Creus and the urban area of El Port de la Selva, a small fishing village on Girona’s coastline on the border between France and Spain. The house seeks to identify each one of the particularities of this magnificent landscape and with its geometry delimits a multiplicity of differentiated and specific visions, building spaces endowed with wonderful framed views.

The project chooses to break up this great panoramic vision in the sum of several different conditions; the various uses of the house are fragmented and articulated in such a way that each one of them, with their small dimensions, will frontally face the landscape. This gives rise to an ensemble of small units framing different views, and it is in the transition from one to the other of these units that we fully understand the seascape and where the central, open space of the house is generated, the space that brings everything together and distributes it.

The house is also an important mechanism for capturing solar energy, light, heat, like a giant sunflower, girasol. The arrangement of the volumetry comes from generating a back courtyard that allows light into the main living room from the back part of the house and heats it. This courtyard, protected from the harsh Tramuntana wind by the house itself, is oriented to capture sunlight and located where one can spend time outdoors on days of strong wind. In fact, thanks to the sequence of two windows, this courtyard also has views of the sea despite being embedded in the local rocks and vegetation in the back part of the house.

The segmentation of the house into small rooms is a programme-related decision that makes little impact on the experience of the place. Each one of these cubes is defined by a continuous solid perimeter that frames a panoramic alternative to that on which each one of these rooms opens fully. The assembly of these units generates a whole that reacts to the different realities of the terrain, opening up to the vistas but closing itself off from the neighbours. Inside, the experience of the house is totally different: from any point one feels closely connected to the exterior, with each one of the interior realities incorporating one view or another.

Most of the materials used in the construction are commonly found in the area. Only the glass panes, owing to the strength of the wind, feature thicknesses and technologies that are more typical of skyscrapers than of family homes. Thus, water, salt, sun and wind are the reason behind the decisions taken on the material nature of the house.

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Localización Location: Port de la Selva, Girona, Spain. Arquitectos Architects: Eduardo Cadaval y Clara Solà-Morales (CADAVAL & SOLÀ-MORALES). Colaboradores Collaborators: Moisés Gamus, Joanna Pierchala y Efstathios Kanios (arquitectos), Joaquín Pelaez (arquitecto técnico), Manel Fernández / BERNUZ FERNANDEZ (estructuras). Constructora General Contractor: Joaquin Gonzalez Obras y Construcciones. Año proyecto Project date: 2012. Ejecución Completion: 2014. Superficie construida Built area: 250 m². Fotografía Photography: Sandra Pereznieto.
Clara Solà-Morales
Eduardo Cadaval
Cadaval & Solà-Morales