San Vicente Ferrer by James & Mau

Flush Façade Updates Historical Street

Spanish architects James & Mau worked within strict dimensions and façade regulations to produce an orange-hued house in Madrid.

A grid of openings covered with corten steel shutters mask the house, separating it from its adjacent, more traditional neighbors. The house was designed with façade restrictions – the designers had to copy a traditional composition of holes. The solution was the use of perforated orange corten-steel which had two other benefits (aside from visually animating the front of the house) – additional ventilation within the skin and properties to harness the sun in the winter and protect the interior from overheating during summer.

At night, the exterior can be animated with coloured lights, exposing the rectilinear geometry further. Set against more traditional housing, and flush with adjacent houses, the design stands out through its materiality and lighting.

Inside, the punctured skin creates patterns on the white walls and floors. A large void in the house is occupied by trees, adding to the interesting devices the architects have used to update a more traditional streetscape: ‘The strategy is contemporary mimicry in a historic setting or an update of a historical typology of our times’, say the architects.

Photos courtesy Matías Pérez Illera.

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