Two houses by Valencia architect Francisco Silvestre Navarro in different geographical locations: one in the mountainous region of Ayora in the hinterland of Valencia, the other in Godella near the Mediterranean coast. Both these large detached family homes are very explicit architectural statements about how space may be defined and how an architecture may relate to the environment. Both are striking buildings that elicit reflection. The geometries are uncompromising: seemingly simple linear volumes where efficient spatial use goes hand in hand with a formal rigueur. Backed up against a sheer cliff under a castle, the house in Ayora is set amongst traditional buildings and the rocky terrain. The frontage giving onto the road makes no attempt to blend with its neighbours. Neither material nor form makes any concessions to the historical site. The building fits like a wedge into the natural incline, its limestone plastered walls dazzling in the light. The three storeys are placed one on top of the other in slight skewed fashion. They expand upward to the top floor where the living area broadens out to include the master bedroom, study, living and kitchen. Here an imposing glazed wall opens out onto a large terrace enclosed by bare walls beyond which rise the jagged rocks of the surrounding landscape. The style is one of tightly controlled restraint. A compact volume, it combines sharp edges, right angles and oblique lines. Everything seems poised between introversion and extroversion, between thick imposing walls and openings giving glimpses of the natural landscape beyond. The sides of the house open onto the outside through glazed lights that, however, become practically assimilated into the walls when the sliding blinds are pulled across. A second-level recessed loggia on the façade facing the road allows light to penetrate into the interior. The single ramp staircase between the floors is a pivotal feature. Its sculptured geometry stands out to great effect in the zenithal light streaming from the narrow skylight down to the first level. The main entrance is on this level in keeping with the natural slope of the terrain, along with two further bedrooms. Services and plant, garage and cellar are on the ground floor. Casa del Atrio is located amidst a patchwork of allotments comprising the Godella urban estate. Set on a square site, this L-shaped building has two storeys. On the ground floor are garage, service room and laundry, gym, and a south-facing library and study whose glazed outside wall looks out onto a covered patio. On the upper floor, the two L-shaped volumes with full-height glazed walls enclose a wide patio and long swimming pool. On the north side are the dining room, entrance and a living room giving on to a covered terrace. The night area comprising two separate units and the master bedroom is on the east side. The distinctive feature of the architecture is its emphasis of the horizontal. Horizontal lines run into one another; the interiors flow onto the patios through a delicate diaphragm of floor-to-ceiling glazing highlighted by the light reflections coming off the water.
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