SAN SEBASTIÁN – The latest project by Vaumm Architects, a sculptural concrete house located in a small town in the Basque Country, immediately stands out in a neighbourhood of detached and semi-detached family homes.
However, its unfamiliar form is a result of following local regulations, coupled with an unusual relationship between the client and the owner of the older house that stands immediately above it. ‘Both owners were married 30 years ago, they built and lived in the original house. They are not together any more, but still get on well. Our client was the woman and her current partner. She owned half of the land and wanted to build a new home,’ Iñigo García Odiaga of Vaumm Architects explains.
The building code dictates that any transformation to existing homes must adhere to a two-family residential typology. Instead of simply adding on to the existing dwelling, the architects have taken advantage of the sloped site. A series of terraces and patios were conceived to link the old with the new, while respecting the views and privacy of the original structure.
‘Choosing concrete created a strong link with the materiality of the ground, from which the volume emerges. This idea is important because we maintain that the new addition can be understood as a large walkable platform or extension of the base of the original house,’ García explains.
The annex itself is organised around a central courtyard, which brings daylight into the interior without sacrificing privacy – or indeed intruding on someone else’s – while the living space and the dining room offer the same expansive view of the landscape that the client had in her previous home.