A well-known ‘Dame of the Theater’, single, 65 years of age, whose dream was to have a swimming pool at home, commissions us the refurbishment of a dark dwelling between party walls in the center of Madrid. The demands: satisfying her desire of having that pool, a loft with an elevator, and abundant natural light.
The property, of 8×8 meters on two floors and an attic, has a single facade in a narrow and dark street facing north and a tight corridor of 2×2 at the end. And it is in that area at the end of the plot, at the height of the attic and facing south, where one can find the ‘the best’ part of the house: wonderful and bright views of the roofs of Madrid’s historic center. That will be the spot from which to bathe the house with sunlight; arriving from the street and into that space will be the reward. In this way, from the dark entrance one reaches a luminous lookout with privileged views. The ‘how’ and the ‘process’ of the itinerary will determine the evolution of the proposal.
Simple demolition works allowed opening up the slabs, which cascade towards the south to flood the three levels with natural light, thus transforming the courtyard into a vertical interior space that the pool fills. Furthermore, inserting in a domestic program of some 400 cubic meters 20 cubic meters of water at 37°C demanded a thorough climate conditioning study and, above all, the active participation of the user, who must be aware that they will be enjoy a broad repertoire of domestic experiences if they work almost as much as if they lived on a boat.
The house incorporates four machines to control and condition the temperature and humidity of the spaces in accordance with comfort needs. Passive conditioning is solved through cross-ventilation. The lower level is waterproof (floors, walls and ceilings are painted with white chloride rubber and the sheet staircase is treated with marine varnish), which permits creating unusual comfort conditions in a domestic environment like, for instance, submerging in the warm water of the pool while it rains or snows… inside.
Architects: Manuel Ocaña Arquitectos
Location: Madrid, Spain
Collaborators: Roberto González García, Lucía Martínez, Sebastian Camacho
Project year: 2006
Constructued Area: 163 sqm
Budget: 130.000 EURO (US $177.112)
Photographs: Miguel de Guzman