Sumit Singhal loves modern architecture. He comes from a family of builders who have built more than 20 projects in the last ten years near Delhi in India. He has recently started writing about the architectural projects that catch his imagination.
House at the Pyrenees in Valle de Aran, Spain by Eduardo Cadaval & Clara Solà-Morales
January 14th, 2012 by Sumit Singhal
Article source: Eduardo Cadaval & Clara Solà-Morales
The project seeks to recuperate the construction values of an old existing vernacular house which was made out of dry stone, a traditional technique of the area of great tectonic value. However the distinctive attributes inherent to this construction technique (compactness, massiveness, minimum openings, obscure interiors, weight) deny the extraordinary environment where it is located: on top of a mountain, with views to 2 different valleys that are faced by the two only façades of the house.
The project elaborates on a series of interior horizontal partitions that are supported by two vertical containers that behave both as structural elements and as divisions of the continuous spaces. Those vertical elements generate vertical continuity within the overall house, and even allow to eventually transform it into two independent homes. But more than any other thing the project places on top of the last slab a vast continuous roof made out of two planes that in their intersection generate a long sore that enables the view of the summit of the mountain from the interior; the roof doesn’t rest directly on top of the stone wall, so a second continuous longitudinal sore is created, permitting incredible views to the valley. The definition of the section of the roof is the definition of the character of the main space of the house.
By preserving the original structure and doing a minimal yet contrasted intervention, the idea is to generate new and contemporary spaces for living, respecting the historic envelope. On the basement of the house, and responding to a structural weakness of a section of the existing wall, a big opening is shaped within the dry stone wall. Such opening permits amazing views and interior natural lighting to a second living and dining room; the rest of spaces accommodated within the old enclosure have a remnant sense of the old construction, although they are distributed according to new ways of living, in a more contemporary reading of architecture.
Cadaval & Sola-Morales
Cadaval & Sola-Morales was founded in New York City in 2003 and moved to both Barcelona & Mexico City in 2005. The studio operates like a laboratory in which research and development are seen as an important element of the design process. The mandate of the firm is to create intelligent design solutions at many different scales, from large scale projects to small buildings, from objects to city fractions. The studio has won numerous awards including the prestigious Bauwelt Prize (Munich 2009), the Young Architects Prize from the Catalan Institute of Architects (Barcelona 2008), the Design Vanguard Award (New York 2008) and the silver medal of the XI Mexican Architecture Biennale (Mexico 2010). Cadaval & Sola-Morales have completed built projects in the United States, Spain and Mexico.
Their work has been selected for multiple exhibitions in Europe and abroad, including among others: The IX Spanish Biennale of Architecture (were they got an honourable mentions for Young Architecture), the Biennale Barbara Capocchin in Italy, the FAD prize exhibition, Including the best architectural works built in the Iberian peninsula, and the Exhibition of Young Spanish Architects organized by the government of Spain. Cadaval & Sola-Morales’ projects have been published worldwide in some of the most prestigious publications such as: Domus, Quaderns, Metropolis Magazine, AIT, ARQ Chile, Arquitectura Viva, and El Pais Semanal. In addition to their professional practice Eduardo Cadaval and Clara Solà-Morales have taught and lectured at several top academic institutions. They have acted as visiting design critics at such universities as Harvard, Yale and The University of Pennsylvania. In 2007 Cadaval & Solà-Morales were considered by Wallpaper Magazine (London) as one of the world’s 10 best young offices, In 2008 Architectural Record, the official magazine of the American Institute of Architects also considered them as one of the ten most vanguardist firms at international level.
Eduardo Cadaval is a licensed architect. He holds a BA from the National University of Mexico (with special honours) and a Master of Architecture in Urban Design from Harvard University. Before founding Cadaval & Sola-Morales, he worked for Abalos & Herreros in Madrid, and for Field Operations in New York. Cadaval has taught at Harvard’s Career Discovery program, the Boston Architectural Center, Calgary’s University Barcelona program and the National University of Mexico. He was awarded with the National Council for the Arts Young Creators grant and the National Council for Science and Technology scholarship, both from the Mexican government. Since 2006 he is an associate professor of urbanism at Barcelona’s School of Architecture ETSAB, UPC.
Clara Sola-Morales is a licensed architect with a degree in Architecture from the Escola Tecnica Superior d’Arquitectura de Barcelona, ETSAB, and holds a Master in Architecture (MarchII) from Harvard University. Prior to establishing Cadaval & Sola-Morales she worked at TEN Arquitectos NY in charge of the design of the Aztec exhibitions at New York and Bilbao Guggenheim Museum. She also worked at Harvard University Center for Urban Development Studies. She has taught at Harvard’s Career Discovery program and at the Boston Architectural Center. She is currently an associate professor of architecture at Tarragona’s School of Architecture ETSAT, UPC.