Pinar de Castellanos by Carlos Casanueva 11.08.11

icon094-pinar-main

The house is a trick," says Carlos Casanueva of his project in Pinar de Castellanos, Spain. The house, a free-standing continuous form, circumvents the planning legislation that restricts the demolition of existing structures in its riverside setting. The "trick" lies in the fact that the shell of the new house was constructed around the existing 1960s building and, like a magician's cloak, was used to mask the demolition from inside. No part of the pre-existing house remains.

The sense of illusion is extended further in the house's materiality, which needed to embody the rich colours and textures of the surrounding forest landscape. An affordable and mouldable composite material called Oxistone, which is similar to concrete, was used. Oxistone mixes cement with silica, various pigments and resin to create a finish whose colour mimics Corten steel while picking up the texture of the old, rough wood that was used as formwork. It creates "an impression of a home that has been there for years, a building with character, with experience, the same as the old pines surrounding it".

"The project was inspired by the name of the place on which it stands – La Venera or the pilgrim's shell," says Casanueva. The smooth shell that encases the house is a site of dualistic exchange: it was a veil for the removal of its predecessor, but also pays homage to it through the 1960s-inspired design of its rounded, continuous envelope. Additionally, the textured and richly coloured earthy exterior is sharply contrasted with the minimalist white interior. As Casanueva explains: "The project is a study of how the two skins are able to play together."

The completed building, says Casanueva, is a product of his "blood, sweat and tears" – indeed, he built it singlehandedly, even using his car to transport pieces to and from the site. After two long years of reconciling past with present, materiality with minimalism and building with landscape, a bold architectural statement has been achieved through Casanueva's clever sleight of hand.

 

Image

Duccio Malagamba

 

Words

Manijeh Verghese

quotes story

It creates "an impression of a home that has been there for years, a building with character, with experience, the same as the old pines surrounding it"

Leave a comment

Click to show