An apartment in Málaga, between Andalusian atmospheres and Japanese spaces

The renovation of an apartment in southern Spain pays homage to local colors and materials, distributing life and work around a space that echoes the Japanese engawa.

In Málaga, in a 1970s complex by Luis Bono de la Herrán and Luis Machuca Santa-Cruz consisting of two thirteen-storey towers, architect Francisco Ortega Ruiz (FORarquitectura) has renovated a flat on the eighth floor to create his home-studio.
The project pays homage to the smooth and warm atmospheres of Andalusia, here reinterpreted and actualised to meet the comfort and flexibility requirements of contemporary living.

The flat unfolds around a common central room, around which the studio workspaces and the sleeping area are distributed. In contrast to the fragmentary configuration of the original layout, the partitions that separated the living room from the private rooms have been demolished and replaced by a filter zone inspired by the “engawa”, the space that in traditional Japanese homes acts as a transitional zone between public and private, outside and inside: in place of the corridor, a wooden equipped L-shaped wall and a system of sliding curtains embracing the living room define a semi-private distributive buffer-zone that blurs the physical and functional boundaries of the rooms, in favour of a fluid and flexible environment meeting the multiple needs and variations of use of its inhabitants.

FORarquitectura, Casa Engawa, Málaga, Spain 2022

Deep reminiscences of Andalusian culture and landscapes animate the house. A colour palette of silky tones, from warm white to vanilla, unifies the walls and floors, giving the spaces a radiant and peaceful character. The white glazed ceramic tiles of local production, in the bathrooms and outdoor spaces, recall the patio, the epicentre of daily life in its community and functional aspects, here evoked not only in the materials but also in the association with the water gushing from the washbasins and the shower in the terrace. 

FORarquitectura, Casa Engawa, Málaga, Spain 2022

As a trait d'union between outside and inside, the large ceramic mural that stands out in the living room, inspired by Portuguese azulejos walls, illustrates a scenario of sea, autochthonous vegetation, and vernacular architecture.

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