Wallpaper* House

SAMI-arquitectos . Wallpaper*

The design brief for this project was very succinct: it referred only to a holiday home in a rural setting, without a defined plot of land, and with the house having a plan of up to 20 m x 20 m.
In terms of programme, the aim was to have a house that was flexible enough to allow two families to cohabit in it and, if desired, be transformed into a getaway home for just one person.

Our approach was guided from the outset by a search for an element that could be the driving element behind the design. Water naturally emerged as that conceptual element, as it is a fundamental element in the conception of the rural house and because of its importance in the daily life of the dwelling and the importance of the agricultural use of water in the surrounding land.

We thus developed a tank-house concept in which water is exalted though the concept of its storage in a volume sunken in the terrain, on top of which we placed three separate volumes: the dwelling itself and two bedrooms/alcoves. The roof is the element that allows for collection of the water and for its channelling to a tank that can be used as a swimming pool, while at the same time serving as an element for storing water at a minimum water level.

In periods of high rainfall any surplus water above that level overflows from the tank and the water level may rise to the maximum storage level, which corresponds to the limits of the house plan.

In addition to it being used for daily needs in the house and for watering the land, the water stored in this way will play a fundamental role in defining the dwelling’s space. It will isolate the main volume when it reaches the maximum storage level, thus making it a refuge for one single person. When the water level sinks, this will allow for the gradual appropriation of the exterior space and the linking of the dwelling and the alcoves, thus transforming the house it into a holiday home for two or three families.

We designed an idea – that of living in a water tank, proposing a house that collects, channels and stores water and adapts to the changes to its boundaries, as if it were a riverbank, and creating beautiful, appropriable spaces that provide shelter and nurture contemplation.

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