Office of Architecture in Barcelona (OAB) design a house on Spain’s northeast coast built between party walls in a historic quarter
Designed by Xavier Martí and Lucía Ferrater of Office of Architecture in Barcelona (OAB), this house stands on Port de la Selva Bay, in the Cap de Creus Nature Park on Spain’s northeast coast. Built between party walls, the house reflects the area’s rich cultural legacy and is inspired by two homes in the neighbouring town of Cadaqués – Casa Villavecchia and Casa Senillosa – both prime examples of how respect for traditional style is compatible with the inclusion of contemporary elements and comforts.
It stands on a long narrow plot between two streets, adjacent to a series of taller buildings. The solution adopted for the vertical plane guarantees compliance with building regulations for the town’s historic quarter: a staggered plane leading to the rear street, allowing for enhanced ventilation and sunlight while adapting the heights as well as the traditional façades of the protected courtyards.
The complexities caused by the elongated shape and north orientation of the plot, the difficult weather conditions and the lack of privacy have been resolved by the open yet sheltered inner courtyard located at the centre of the home and offering protection from the heat, cold, rain and wind. The result is a relaxing haven providing inhabitants with a carefree living space in which to enjoy their privacy to the full by day and night.
The interior is divided into three levels. On the ground floor the house can be accessed from both streets, via an entrance behind the garage and a pedestrian entrance at the front leading directly to the space combining the kitchen, dining room and courtyard, in keeping with the style that characterises traditional fishermen’s homes. Two staircases – one interior and another exterior – lead up to the bedrooms on the first floor, where a suspended gallery creates a distribution passage or atrium running around the courtyard, providing a sense of continuum for this focal point of domestic life. Finally, the second floor houses the library, living room, and a sheltered terrace overlooking the sea.
In terms of building solutions, one of the outstanding features of this house is the optimum use of materials, which, thanks to the light that floods the interior, brings the most characteristic features of the interior to the fore.
Ceramic floor tiles have been used throughout, covering both the interior and the courtyard, which features 13mm traditional Catalan rasilla tiles. The project won first prize in the interior design category of the 2018 Tile of Spain Awards.