Project Team: Manel Raventós, Manel Soler Caralps, Arantza Garetaonandia, Antonio Diosdado, Joaquim Ribes Quintana, Jardines Burés, Joan Madorell
Photographed by Gunnar Knechtel and Lluís Ros
Location: Llers, Alt Emporadà, Girona, Spain
The Villa Bio is trapped in a contextual oxymoron—given the neighbors, it’s utterly out of place, but one look at the natural surroundings tells you which house fits right in. Two years in the making, it was no easy task to make the most of client Carles Fontecha’s small piece of land. The sloping coiled snake of a plan, with underground garage and a 50-foot cantilevered section, is no small feat of engineering. The result is economical, beautiful, and environmental. The Villa Bio is a firework of astute solutions that exemplify what the sustainable suburban home of tomorrow can be today.
“We were not looking for a green label,” explains Ruiz-Geli in rapid-fire English, “We wanted a truly modern house that could seamlessly integrate in its environment. Gaudí was interested in nature in formal and spiritual terms. At Cloud9 we’re interested in the performative dimension of nature—how it grows, lives, and transforms. We strive to cultivate this organic dimension.”
Indeed, the Villa Bio’s shape grew directly out of the land, echoing the sloping hillside forest that sits beyond the property line—and honoring the client’s request for a home without stairs to accommodate his two young children and disabled father. From the street to the back of the house, the floor rises almost five feet, following the land’s topography. The slope is re-created for the rising section that leads back to the front of the home (now at an elevation of almost ten feet). Step out onto the hydroponic rooftop garden and the sloping spiral plan takes one more elongated spin, terminating atop the master bedroom. The aromatic garden is one of the home’s prime sustainable features—absorbing excess runoff and protecting the house from the tramontane, a strong wind that blows in the region.
Original text written by Karim Massoteau
The Exquisite ’ Inner Space ’ Architecture of Matthew Simmonds
Hi, my name is Julien Martin, i was born in 1984 in Saint-Tropez, France. I left home when i was 16, travelled for 4 years the country with an italian circus and finally reached Paris in 2004. I got lucky and was accepted at the École nationale supérieure des beaux-arts de Paris because of my “exceptional” talent. Nevertheless i dropped out two years later, missing the feeling of being on the road. I travelled the south of Europe, Portugal, Spain and Italy. Now i am back to Paris and try to live of my art.
” Simmonds makes a play of architecture and ornamentation on a small scale, but the spaces created give the same feeling as in the buildings themselves; a place to rest, a place to travel with the eye and maybe find a moment of tranquillity. The marble is opened up, and inside is a space within a building that only exists in the viewer’s mind. What you sense is the significance of space.” ( Artodyssey )