Sunflower House

Cadaval & Solà-Morales built in front of the Mediterranean sea of the Costa Brava a house that is also a big solar collector, like a giant sunflower, composed of small units differently oriented to frame the breathtaking landscape.

Cadaval & Solà-Morales, Sunflower House, Port de la Selva, Girona, Spain
Designed by Cadaval & Solà-Morales, the Sunflower house sits on a privileged condition of limit; in the border within the water of the Mediterranean sea and the hard rock of the Costa Brava, between the wild nature of Cabo de Creus and the urban settlement of El Port de la Selva, a small fisherman village in the border of France and Spain.
The house wants to identify each of the particularities of this magnificent landscape; with its geometry, the house frames a multiplicity of different and specific views, and builds up content spaces that inhabit great big framed views.
Cadaval & Solà-Morales, Sunflower House, Port de la Selva, Girona, Spain
Cadaval & Solà-Morales, Sunflower House, Port de la Selva, Girona, Spain

The owners wanted a house in front of the Mediterranean sea that was fully exposed to the views; but they never imagined that their plot, beyond its closeness to the sea, was tremendously exposed to one of the strongest winds of the peninsula, and did almost not get any direct sun radiation. So the project starts from this dichotomy: reinforce the relation to the sea, while finding and attracting the sun into the house.

The project breaks down the panoramic view into the addition of many different conditions; the diverse uses of the house are minced and articulated so that each of them (of small dimensions) is positioned frontally to the diverse landscape conditions. Therefore the project is an addition of small units that each frame a differentiated view, and it is within the transition from one unit to the other where the totality of the panoramic view is comprehended. And it is also in the addition of those units where a major open space is generated, the central space of the house.

Cadaval & Solà-Morales, Sunflower House, Port de la Selva, Girona, Spain
Cadaval & Solà-Morales, Sunflower House, Port de la Selva, Girona, Spain

The house is also a big solar collector, a mechanism to bring light and heat into the house; like a giant sunflower. The composition of the volumes responds to the generation of a rear patio that enables the sun radiation into the living room, to heat the wole house up. This patio, protected from the Tramuntana through the construction itself and oriented to ensure maximum radiation inside the house, is also an outdoor living area where to stay when Tramuntana is hitting the area. Even more, the sequence of two major glazing enables the view of the sea from this back rear patio, while seating within the rocks and local vegetation.

The segmentation into small units is a programmatic decision that has little impact on the actual experience of the place. Each of this cubes is defined through a solid continuous perimeter that traces a specific relationship with the outdoors; the arrangement of all the individual spaces generates an ensemble that reacts to its not uniform context, opening to the views but protecting itself from neighbors. From the interior the experience of the house is continuous: from any point of the house one feels closely related to the immediate milieu by incorporating one or other view into the numerous spaces.

The strength (and struggle) of the project relies on its geometry. Meanwhile, all the materials used in the construction are typical of the area, from the structure to the outdoor finishes of the walls. Only the glazing, due to the need to respond to the requirements for such strong winds, incorporates thicknesses and technologies more typical of skyscrapers than for single houses.

Sunflower House, Port de la Selva, Girona, Spain
Program: single-family house
Architects: Cadaval & Solà-Morales
Project: Eduardo Cadaval & Clara Solà-Morales.
Collaborators: Moisés Gamus, Joanna Pierchala, Efstathios Kanios.
Building Engineering: Joaquin Peláez.
Structural Engineering: Manel Fernández, BERNUZ-FERNANDEZ,
Contractor: Joaquin Gonzalez Obras y Construcciones.
Area: 250 sqm
Completion: 2014

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