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© Santiago Garcés


Project Name: House at the Pyrenees Location: Canejan, Valle de Aran (Spain) Date: Project : 2004. Construction completion: Spring 2010 Project: Eduardo Cadaval & Clara Solà-Morales. Collaborators: Mariona Viladot, Alex Molla, Pernilla Johansson Structural Engineering: Carles Gelpí Construction Management: Ballarin TGN, sl Photography: © Santiago Garcés


The project seeks to recover the construction values of an old existing vernacular house which was created out of dry stone, a traditional technique of the area of great tectonic value. However, the extraordinary attributes fundamental to this construction technique (compactness, massiveness, minimum openings, obscure interiors, weight) oppose the exceptional environment where it is based: on top of a mountain, with views to two different valleys that are experienced by the two only facades of the house.

The project elaborates on an array of interior horizontal partitions that are upheld by two vertical containers that act both as structural elements and as divisions of the continuous areas. The vertical continuity is maintained within the overall house by the vertical elements, these vertical elements allow to convert it into two separate homes. But more than any other thing the project stands on top of the last slab an extensive continuous roof made out of two planes that in their intersection create a long sore that facilitates the view of the summit of the mountain from the interior; the roof doesn’t settle immediately on top of the stone wall, so a second continuous longitudinal sore is constructed, having incredible views to the valley. The definition of the section of the roof is the definition of the quality of the essential space of the house.

By upholding the original structure and carrying out a minimal yet contrasted intervention, the concept is to engender new and contemporary spaces to live, honoring the historic envelope. In the basement of the house, and acknowledging to a structural flaw of a section of the prevailing wall, a massive opening is developed within the dry stone wall. Such opening allows amazing views and interior natural lighting to a second living and dining room; the rest of spaces contained within the old enclosure have a remnant sense of the old construction, although they are arranged corresponding to new ways of living, in a further contemporary version of architecture.