In the center of Alaquàs, near Valencia, a historic home has been expanded to accommodate a family’s residence, with a volume that blends into the historic context
The historical center of Alaquàs, in the heart of the Valencian Community, is characterized by numerous narrow streets that overlook low, small houses. Located a short walk from the castle, a historical residence was expanded by the architects of Mano de Santo Equip de Arquitectura, with a delicate and minimalist intervention that blurs the lines between the preexisting architecture and the new addition.
City planning, which restricts the height of buildings, and the traditional character of the neighboring houses, marked a clear perimeter under which he architects operated. Guided by the desire to create a continuum between the existing structure and the new, they gently integrated the two architectures.
The historic house stands at the corner of one of the downtown blocks and has two street-facing façades. The main façade, almost completely white, is characterized by a symmetry dominated by the central balcony: friezes, stucco, and moldings, a clear sign of past centuries, give way to smooth surfaces and a closed and impenetrable façade on the adjacent side, where the white of the walls is the only element of continuity. On this side, it is difficult to identify the transition between history and contemporaneity: the new addition rests upon the old walls, merging with them seamlessly.
Behind this closed, unseen backdrop, unknown to passers-by, a hidden patio leads to the life of the house. The patio is the filtering element between the interior and exterior, and the fulcrum around which the entire project was developed. It constitutes a simple yet intelligent element with which Mano de Santo met distributive, volumetric, and lighting requirements.
The patio brings light into the most central parts of the house and provides the inhabitants an outdoor environment to enjoy domestic privacy. Inside, the corridor and the stairs connecting the two floors of the house correspond to this space, as if the patio was an open-air extension of the stairwell. The spaces on the ground floor and first floor are divided into two distinct poles, aligning with the different buildings, the old and the new.
On the ground floor, the patio separates the large garage from the living area of the home. On the upper floor, it divides the sleeping area into two: the master suite, consisting of a large room with a bathroom, and on the opposite side, the two children’s rooms.
Both the interiors and exteriors are characterized by the simplicity and cleanliness of the large white surfaces, against which carefully calibrated wooden elements stand out.
The windows were designed to recall the geometry of the neighboring houses: the light wooden fixtures repropose those of the historical façade in a contemporary manner.
Inside, the same colors – the white of the walls and the wood of the doors, kitchen cabinets, and custom-made furnishings – echo the color palette of the façade, conveying a sensation of order and symmetry.
Location: Alaquàs, Valencia, Spain
Architect: Mano de Santo Equipo de Arquitectura (Francesc de Paula Garcìa Martìnez, Ana Gil Collado, Francisco Miravete Martìn)
Built-up Area: 400 m2
Electrical system: Jung
Photography by Diego Opazo, courtesy of Mano de Santo Equipo de Arquitectura