La Moraleja Villa | The Plan
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La Moraleja Villa


XTEN Architecture | Extudio | Losada Garcia Arquitectos

XTEN Architecture is a Swiss-American architectural practice, headed by Monika Haefelfinger and Scott Utterstrom, who became her co-partner following the untimely death of Austin Kelly. They have created a succession of exemplary houses, each tailored to its client and site, mostly in southern California. Their Open House in the Hollywood Hills was widely admired and sparked several commissions, most recently the La Moraleja Villa on the outskirts of Madrid. A Venezuela-born businessman shared a spacious apartment in the Spanish capital with his wife and four children. As a retreat from the heat and congestion of the city he bought a kite-shaped lot, a hectare in size, screened from its neighbors by mature oak trees. It offered privacy, security and green vistas, and there was space at the center for an expansive new house that would showcase his sculpture collection. An interior designer in Miami introduced him to XTEN Architecture, and the architects won his approval with their sketches of a house that offers an ideal balance of solid and void, opacity and transparency. It is as organic a response to the flat site and the dense foliage as the Open House is to its steep slope and sweeping views over Los Angeles. The house is approached on a curved drive and is located on the cross axes of the site to maximize its exposure to greenery and spare existing trees. And its clean lines and emphasis on indoor-outdoor living are strongly influenced by the southern California brand of modernism. The upper story provides shade from the fierce summer sun, and the living room can be cooled by cross ventilation on all but the hottest days. There is a seamless fusion of art, architecture, landscaping and nature, with pools, stone and glass to blur the boundaries between them. To stay within the mandatory height limit for this upscale community, the staff quarters, parking and top-lit interior pool are located below ground. The concrete-framed structure is faced with two kinds...

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