Mediterranean Concrete Hideaway Serves Up Improbable Spanish Banks Fantasy

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With our city now so laughably unaffordable, thousands of Vancouverites are stuck imagining wonderful homes instead of living in them. “Spaced” is a record of our minds wandering the world of architecture and design, up and away from the unrewarding realities of shoebox condos, dark basement suites, and sweet fuck all on Craigslist.

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(via) Property discussions in Vancouver have become so tedious that sometime you just want to curl up into a ball and hide from them. And what better place to cower than deep inside a beautifully designed concrete bunker floating impossibly above a forest canopy? We imagine the stunning “Mediterranean 32” house by Barcelona-based Daniel Isern Architects uplifted from its steep hillside perch near Sant Pol de Mar in southern Spain and deposited on the bluffs overlooking the apt Spanish Banks deep on our own West Side. All we’d really need to do is literally push the long languished $3 million 1927 cottage it would supplant off the cliff and build this in its stead. We could film the entire demolition as an art project heavy with capital symbolism for Bob Rennie’s personal collection at Wing Sang (and maybe even get a grant to pay for it). The indoors-meets-outdoors attitude of the house is as big a draw as the view, but we’re suckers for concrete, especially when it’s an S&M mix of polished and rough. Pity about the woodbox gap in the causeway wall though. We’d need to cover with a tarp (you know, because it rains here and firewood doesn’t like that). From the architects:

The project for this house emerged from a very simple premise, to build on a very steep piece of land with a gradient of almost 100%, boasting wonderful views and on a tight budget. It was this highly complicated plot of land, surrounded by pine trees, that defined a good part of this project. The land, and its perspectives, constantly changing as the hours pass, the colour of the trees, the movement of sun and shadows…

On the one hand, the reduced dimensions of the plot and its complex orography, and on the other the desire to leave the minimum imprint on the land led us to seek out a floorplan which, matching the trees that surround it, emerges from a trunk well anchored to the land and opens up in braches on each floor, in such a way that each branch becomes the terrace of the upper level at the same time as it becomes the porch of the lower one.

All this helps create a very formal building, with huge cantilevers facing out to emptiness, the woods and the sea which lie before it. A structure which opens up to these views and the sun, and which thanks to the terraces and the porches confuse the interior with the exterior.

A building which is equally formal in both its volume and the materials which compose it. Concrete, iron, timber and stone combining in a way that emphasizes the character of each one.

In the end, the whole building represents a dialogue between emptiness and fullness, between materials, between outside and inside; seeking out a balance between these highly contrasting parts.

Photography by Adrià Goula.

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