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Casa Sabater

Living in a Sculpture

Fran Silvestre Arquitectos

Casa Sabater
By Philip Jodidio -

Fran Silvestre states clearly that he was influenced by Álvaro Siza but also by the sculptor Andreu Alfaro (1929-2012) who was a native of Valencia. The son of a butcher who became a self-taught artist in the late 1950’s, Alfaro looked to Constantin Brâncuşi and Antoine Pevsner amongst others for his inspiration. Expressed in modules and series, formed with light and color, his work has been described as “minimalist albeit with reservations”. Álvaro Siza’s architecture might be described in the same terms. There is always a surprising combination of modernity and rational forms with unexpected light and nuances in the work of the Portuguese master. 

Installed in the former studio of Andreu Alfaro in Valencia, Fran Silvestre works closely for interiors with the sculptor’s son Andrés Alfaro Hofmann. That was the case for Casa Sabater.
The unexpected combination of influences developed through contact with Andreu Alfaro and Álvaro Siza underlies the unexpected plan of Casa Sabater, which is formed by two overlapping “Y” forms. In discussion with the author on June 23, 2023, Fran Silvestre explained, “We have been trying to build a house of this type for 20 years – this idea of a very thin house that increases the contact with the exterior, and we wanted to increase the perimeter for that reason. The site of the Sabater house is rather steeply sloped.

We imagined exterior courtyards that would give private outdoor space to the residence. The sea is about a kilometer away and the client wanted to have views of the water. It is in Dehesa de Campoamor, near to the sea. The sea is visible clearly from the master bedroom. This house has a relation to the work of Alfaro – there is a repetitive system of volumes and lines”.

Two recurring characteristics of the houses of Fran Silvestre are white walls and geometric plans –...

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