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Oché House

Another Small Piece to a Cultural Mosaic

Eovastudio

Oché House
By Caterina Testa -

A small Spanish town of low-density housing and pedestrian streets, La Línea de la Concepción lies just a few meters from the border with Gibraltar between the Bay of Algeciras and the Alboran Sea. Within sight of the famous Rock of Gibraltar that dominates the promontory and bay, this trait d’union between Spain and the United Kingdom, the Mediterranean and the Atlantic at the confluence of European and Arab cultures is redolent with history and legend.

It was here that a Turkish-Spanish couple decided to look for a suitable place to build a home. Despite their limited budget, they wanted a building that would enhance the area, a neighborhood to the south of the old town center close to the airport and just a few hundred meters from the border with Gibraltar. The couple settled on a long narrow plot, just 3.5 m wide and 15 m long, in a dense irregular urban fabric. Although its unusual morphology teeters on the brink of livability, the site of Oché House has the redeeming virtue of being oriented north-south and so enjoying good daylighting and ventilation along with exceptional views of the Rock. From a design point of view, limited width has been compensated by large, airy, full-height interiors.

Since the clients’ limited budget had to cover demolition of the existing building and construction and finishing of the new program, simplicity and cost-effectiveness were a prime concern, not, however, at the expense of design excellence. Indeed, the architects at Eovastudio saw the economic and morphological limitations imposed by the context as an opportunity to develop a project that would meet the clients’ needs, accommodate the spatial constraints, and blend with the local cultural mix. Their choice was therefore to use local materials and construction methods.

The shape of the building site suggested two long load-bearing perimeter walls in perforated ceramic brick, which although...

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