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Friday, July 31, 2009

Half Dose #65: Villa in Pedralbes

Just came across this wackiness by Foreign Office Architects, their Villa in Pedralbes, Barcelona, Spain, completed last year. The architects describe the house as a response to the steeply sloping site, its three floors merging with the landscape at each level.

FOAvilla1.jpg
[Villa in Pedralbes, Barcelona, Spain by Foreign Office Architects | image source]

Basically the house opens itself at the front and the back of the house, allowing for cross-ventilation, light and views in those two directions. The house closes itself off to its neighbors on either side.

FOAvilla2.jpg
[Villa in Pedralbes, Barcelona, Spain by Foreign Office Architects | image source]

Of course, addressing the topography, light and vent, views, and the neighboring buildings could have occurred in many different ways. The architects went with what they're known for: continuous surfaces that warp, wrap and blend with their surroundings. The influence of the Yokohama Ferry Terminal is evident, especially in the shape of the glazed openings and the handrails, a necessary feature that nevertheless appears to be an afterthought.

FOAvilla3.jpg
[Villa in Pedralbes, Barcelona, Spain by Foreign Office Architects | image source]

Like other FOA designs, this one is striking, but it reminds me of what I don't like about their designs, namely a certain clumsiness in the forms, a lack of elegance when they venture into topographical designs. Projects like the Spanish Pavilion at Expo 2005 or the folding facades of Carabanchel Housing, which exploit the potential of the orthogonal, are better results than this house or even parts of the Ferry Terminal. Maybe FOA thrives on restrictions, so when they're given free reign their designs scream for somebody or something to keep them in line.

4 comments:

  1. I like the shape (the stacked horizontal lines) but agree about the lack of elegance. It puts me in the mind of the Flintstones and in that case why not lose the wood and do it in stone? I bet that if Foster & Partners of the 7/30 archidose had a go at that form you would see the grace that seems hidden in there.

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  2. this is awful
    no wonder foa covered it up.
    frankly this is the kind of derivative tosh that first year students pass off as a well thought out scheme.

    bad
    bad
    bad
    FOA

    if you were a dog i'd rub your nose in this saying no,no,no over and over again.

    d- must try harder

    ReplyDelete
  3. Seems like a typical floor becomes a wall, wall becomes a ceiling parti.

    ReplyDelete

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