Casa de Retiro Espiritual
nabij Sevilla - Spanje
1979 - 2004 (renovatie)
Architect: Emilio Ambasz and Associates - New York.

The house is a contemporary reformulation of the traditional Andalusian house, centered around a patio, onto which all rooms open. To keep the house cool in the hot-dry climate of Southern Spain, the living area is insulated by earth. Two tall, rough stuccoed, white walls meet at a right angle, creating an envelope for the house and defining its entrance. From this entrance, steps of increasingly greater length lead down to an open air patio which the house opens up onto. An ambulatory defines the patio's other two sides, and serves as a transition between the house and the patio. The house consists, simply, of a large continuous space, contained by sinuous walls, with different areas defined by smooth cavities excavated into the floor and echoed by the ceiling above. Floor and perimeter walls are covered with delicately colored small glass tiles, washed by the soft, diffused light descending from the skylights and the breezy light entering from the small curvilinear patio counterpointing the orthogonal one.
The building technique, as practiced by local builders, is of concrete and bricks: concrete floor and wall slabs rest on beds of cast sand; a liner of fiberglass, fused at the seams, is wrapped entirely around the buried surfaces. Insulated double walls and slender columns support a concrete roof vaulted in several places to help define living areas. An underground "canopy" of fiberglass panels extends horizontally as a ten foot cornice from the wall's top to keep water from soaking the ground around the house. All practical needs and services (kitchen, baths, storage, etc.) are satisfied by geometric containers placed into the ground. Sleeping is in either some of the living areas or in the sleeping alcoves contained within the sides.
[zie ook de eigen website van het Casa de Retiro Espiritual]

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