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360 House

Subarquitectura

Subarquitectura team have designed a house inspired by “the shapes skaters make, like those of gymnasts, as artistic as they are precise”. It was also intended to offer many solutions to the questions of how to live on the sloping site, or perhaps anywhere. Physically, the house’s spiraling trajectory draws the visitor into a vortex that is not immediately comprehensible from the front door, with living spaces proceeding along the curve. These were designed to meet the needs of an imaginary family, dreamt up by the client and consisting of an educated couple with two young children. The proposed inhabitants were meant to inspire a practical programme of spaces and functions, but were also envisioned as the kind of people who might be enticed, rather than put off, by unorthodox form. That form was determined by a combination of the practical and the possible. The site was an open plot on the steep slope that offered glorious views of the mountains around Madrid. The design answers to both the gradient and the desire to maximize those views. As the architects explain, “these two concepts [the slope and the views] were overlaid with our obsession with loops and the continuity and fluidity of the spaces”. This fluidity was manifest in a shape, “which rotates 360 degrees as it descends, looking for the best views at the top, while floating over the plot, and being braced on the ground”. The impression, from the outward plan is of a single, spiraling procession of spaces, yet the design offers surprising variation. The architects devised what they call the “short house” and the “long house”. The former provides a direct passage, via a staircase, from the entrance to the lower-level living area. This is a more public route for guests that bypasses the private spaces through to the outdoors. The longer journey winds through the entire length of the structure (some 80 metres), emptying out to the linear release of the swimming pool terrace. This path, organized so that...

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