The project of this house situated in Tenerife, Canary Islands, is a hard-won synthesis of a tropical, volcanic environment, an unusually narrow lot, an eccentric client brief and the architect's own academic ideals.
As the region’s supply of steel and plastics is relatively scarce, Acosta defaulted to base materials that could be readily sourced from its comparative abundance of stone. The four-storey elevation comprises three concrete boxes of equal width but differing length stacked flush with the site’s party walls. The middle box extends out to the street, hollowed beyond the retracted first and third boxes to form simultaneously a courtyard, loggia, and front terrace in ascending order. Two geometric punctures in this box’s façade lend the presentation an intriguing abstraction, lightening the material severity while still screening the living areas from public view. Curved holes in the vertical surfaces admit light to the court. Behind a sliding, glass panel on the first floor, a fully-concrete foyer continues the space of the loggia into the interior.
Though the boxes’ incongruence already creates a striking illusion of depth, another subtle irony lies past the foyer. A single, double-height room cast uniformly in a light plywood accommodates kitchen and dining – presenting a warm, insulated counterpart to the exterior court. This ‘indoor courtyard’ nevertheless remains close to the outdoors, leading out to an eaved patio on the first floor and featuring a winding staircase with access to a second roof terrace.
It is in this courtyard template that Acosta found a connection with the clients. While the house retains some of the ‘classical grammar’ from its original conception – with a piano nobile resting over garage, utilities and garden – the space is organised in terms of a grammar unique to its residents, an element in which they identify a home.
Photos Esaú Acosta