More than the sum of its parts

Nick Myall
Wednesday 13 Jan 2016

Spanish building regulations have led the architects to an inventive design solution with this house in Madrid

This striking house, designed by Alberto Campo Baeza, is located on a sloping plot with a backdrop looking out to the distant horizon of Madrid’s western mountain range in Spain. At ground level it doesn’t appear to be anything special, but the panoramic view of the urban landscape of the east of Madrid changes all that. 

Complying with the prevailing Spanish regulations the architects were required to work with a square ground plan of 12 x 12m that is divided into four 6 x 6m squares. Following this pattern, the ground planes are raised, square by square, with a simple helicoidal movement. The spaces are of double height and intersect with one another producing diagonality which is also helicoidal. The result explains the proposal that the architects set out with, namely that two + two + two is more than just six.

Thus in this house a known spatial mechanism is employed, the Raumplan, with the concatenation of spiralling double spaces. Each two double spaces are connected by vertical displacement so that a diagonal space is created. As the visitor to this house turns 90 degrees they connect with the other two, and if they continue to rise through the building turning a further 90 degrees, they will experience the amazing spatial structure: the concatenation of three spiralling diagonal spaces, just like a corkscrew, which further explains the statement that two + two + two is much more than six. 


Nick Myall

News Editor

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