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Global Architecture Platform

OE House

Alforja, Tarragona 2015

The tale of two houses

Appropriation. The OE House is a montage. The clients wanted a double house, so they could move from one half to the other, according to their state of mind. They did not like to spend their holidays traveling; they preferred to move downstairs, and do it for real, closing the quarters above. We provided them with two well-known domestic environments—the open frame of the Case Study Houses for the hedonistic pleasure of the warm season, topped with the interiorized existentialism of Le Corbusier’s Maison Jaoul for the windy months in la Sierra de la Mussara. We did it literally. The resulting exquisite corpse—wrapped by the most Spanish architectural prop of all: the persiana—ensures the schizophrenic differentiation of modes of habitation as much as it negotiates the impossible encounter of both types.

Cost. The OE family wanted a mas (traditional Catalan rural home) with two houses in one: a summer house on the ground floor and a winter house on the first floor, on a hazel tree field at the edge of Alforja, a rural town with a climate more extreme, cold and windy than the rest of the el Camp region. We researched the local rural constructions typologies and a seasonal membrane that responds to daily weather changes. Learning from anonymous neighboring case studies, we reached a crossroad between a mas and a peasant’s storehouse. Developing open source systems and interchangeable ingredients, exploring two tangent extremes between archaeology and innovation: we reclaimed the almost forgotten volta catalana local technique, and adapted industrialised components that came from afar, so that the house could be built in twelve months. Choosing the wrong contractor slowed this process down to four and a half years. In the meantime, the bank reduced 30% the initial agreed loan. In order to save the house, we explored a radically optimistic management of adversity and uncertainty, where each setback was an opportunity to build a cheaper and better made home, with a breath of collage and bricolage air. The clients, the OE family lived right in front. Each summer, in the construction site, they played and bathed among the hazel trees, camped on the roof, while their new home slowly grew. This long shared resilience test has given us a close engagement with their family, the builders and local craftsmen. To celebrate it, we invited everyone to a calçotada, (traditional winter feast) where we cooked and had fun together.


Authors: Fake Industries Architectural Agonism (Cristina Goberna, Urtzi Grau) + aixopluc (David Tapias)
Collaborators: Ricard Pau (Architect). Jordi Royo (technical Architect). Josep Maria Delmuns (engineer)
Dates: September 2010 – December 2015 
Builders: OE family / Construccions Saura SL / Aluminis Ortiz / Fusteria Florentin
Budget: 320.000 euros. Built area: 330m2
Photographs: José Hevia and Raul Ruz
Video : David Tapias


14.Jun.2017 3955 views
David Tapias aixopluc

aixopluc is an architectural search practice founded by David Tapias. He graduated from the ETSAB in 1999, and completed his PhD dissertation on the maison Prouvé in 2013, in collaboration with the MNAM at the Centre Georges Pompidou. David has learnt and taught at the ear URV (Reus), ESARQ UIC (Barcelona) and The Frank Lloyd Wright School of Architecture (Taliesin West); and lectured in numerous national and international architecture schools, institutions and congresses. His practice is organised in four complementary departments: ‘aixopluc’, ‘aixoplucs’, ‘the campboards’ and ‘little maps’, questionning how we dwell with the world, by crafting custom-made, site-specific post-industrial fabrication and low energy habitats.


14.Jun.2017 3955 views
Cristina Goberna, Urtzi Grau Fake Industries

Fake Industries Architectural Agonism is an architectural practice created by Cristina Goberna and Urtzi Grau, based in New York, Sydney and Barcelona, that bridges the professional world and the architectural academia to reclaim the architect’s role as a public intellectual. In 2014, fkaa won the aia New York New Practices, and in 2015 it represented Australia in the Chicago Architectural Biennial.

Cristina Goberna, architect, University of Seville, Ms in Advanced Architectural Design and Advanced Architectural Research Certificate, gsapp, Columbia University. PhD candidate, School of Architecture of Barcelona. Adjunct Assistant Professor at the gsapp and Senior Lecturer at the uts, Sidney. Urtzi Grau, architect, School of Architecture of Barcelona. Ms in Advanced Architectural Design, gsapp, Columbia University, 2004. PhD candidate at Princeton University School of Architecture. Adjunct Assistant Professor at the gsapp and Senior Lecturer at the uts, Sidney.

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