Lens House

private commission

Campo Real is a small town in the surroundings of Madrid. The topography of the site, a very steep slope facing the skyline of the city makes the view the most important feature of the lot. The house is not intended to be a prominent object on the site but rather disappear and be a mere device to emphasise the beauty of the landscape.  The perception of the gentle slopes and the olive trees preceding the view of the skyline of Madrid are framed and transformed by a sequence of concrete surfaces, glass walls and water reflections that enlarge, focus and enhance the natural beauty of the area.

The house composed by 6 squares of 6×6 meters is split into two pavilions of 3 squares and moved apart so each of them could accomplish different functions. The back pavilion anchors the house to the terrain, acting as a retaining wall. It’s roof which is at the level of the access street creates a platform for parking. It contains the most private spaces of the house, the three bedroom, the bathrooms and a small library.  The front pavilion goes forward into the slope, barely touching the ground in its south corner and hoovering above the landscape. This pavilion becomes a device to capture the view, a lens that transforms its perception.  The very few objects that colonise the interior besides adding confort become a filter that customise the meaning of an otherwise neutral landscape. It contains the public programs, living room, open kitchen and terraces. 

The lens pavilion cantilevers from a concrete bean that connects perceptually and structurally the two pavilions. This deep beam is filled with water and transformed into a swimming pool that starts in the master bedroom and goes across the interior garden till it tears the living room, incorporating visually the water into the interior space, and giving unity to all the spaces in the house. The in-between exterior space result of splitting the house in two pavilions becomes a trapped piece of nature that is incorporated into the house and that adds another filter to the lens that transforms the perception of the natural landscape.