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An Architecture Concealed within its Urban Fabric

Adolfo Pérez Arquitectura

An Architecture Concealed within its Urban Fabric

Cádiz, Andalusia. A residential district with row upon row of seemingly endless suburbia. Its name is not very promising either: Vistahermosa - Bellevue - a mix of great expectations and the classical lack of imagination of a place that has grown too quickly.  It is yet another example of the Spanish property bubble: speculation, the second-home craze, standardization and dulled urban design sense. This part of the town of El Puerto de Santa María seems to have forgotten its thousand-year history that boats Christopher Columbus and the birth of sherry. With its regulation pleasure-boat marina and all the other clichéd accoutrements, it is the perfect picture postcard scene of the contemporary holiday location - almost ineffable in its search for ephemeral perfection.

But Seville architect Adolfo Pérez López, born in 1975, has achieved a small miracle introducing into this unmitigated sameness a building that unexpectedly jolts our perception of space by defining it with a series of subtractions. The private house at 18 Calle Star - yes, “Star” and not “Estrella” as one might expect - breaks the mold of the surrounding plots with their varied-size box-shaped house topped by a pitched roof. Although complying with all local building regulations - indeed exploiting them to his advantage - López has built a secluded home, hermetically closed to the outside world in compliance with the client’s wishes to be shut off from his surroundings.

The long narrow plot prompted the idea of a central spine: a wall on which to “hang” a series of solids and voids. The parcel of land is closed off by a solid white wall, a defensive barrier above which rise the spreading canopy of a pre-existing tree and the perfect geometry of the building’s upper floor. The central spine divides the plot in two. On the west, a garden with swimming pool, overlooked by the separate...

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