in a small town called requena in the east of spain, CRUX arquitectos has designed a house based around the changing needs of a family. the project began by questioning the notion of a dwelling and considering how the spaces transform throughout the day and over time. the realized building – titled REI house – intends to provide for these varying demands by creating a flexible and interactive interior.
the east elevation and backyard of the house
all images © milena villalba
considering stewart brand’s book, ‘in how buildings learn’, when he discusses the layers of time and identifies structure as the most perennial layer, the architects decided to organize REI house following a flexible system. adopting the concept of the ‘basilica plan’, which comprises connected naves of varying functions, the residence is designed around adaptable spaces that afford different uses. in other words, an ‘elastic’ scheme that can bend over time.
the porch and access space on the open ground floor
the layout consists of three naves. the central nave holds the main functions: eating, chatting, resting and playing. slender tubular metal columns separate the central area from the ambulatory, while the side aisles are shaped as ‘sacristies’. this spatial configuration transcends traditional housing houses as it allows the inhabitants to transform and appropriate the place with unexpected uses.
the multipurpose space on the first floor, divided by playful curtains
the three naves can be conveniently compartmentalized with railings, curtains or dry partition systems. at some points the three naves merge into two, or one. they extend to the outside, they become a terrace. they even dig the floor and connect to the lower level. the net in the double height volume sifts the light to illuminate the central spaces of the first floor. the false ceiling appears where necessary, allowing the ceiling of the central areas to be exposed, revealing the curved concrete vault, thus giving the house a certain character.
the net allows visibility and interaction between the first floor and second floor, and it becomes a play or rest space
the mesh fence of the main room is inspired by the old manor houses in requena. in addition to adding a layer of protection and refuge, they allow looking out, courting as in medieval romances. the house also takes advantage of the best orientation in this area, allowing long visuals and continuous contact with the outside. cross ventilation is afforded as a natural air conditioner, taking away the need for an energy-consuming device to cool the indoor temperature in summer. the light filtered by the concrete lattice avoids creating clear-cut shadows in the service spaces. when the sun falls directly, the light is uniform, a changing tapestry as the day passes.
the double height space in the multipurpose room
in essence, this project explores an architecture that allows changes, which tries not to confine life or freeze it in one position shot. always under construction, accommodating, constantly changing. interactive and stimulating. as aldo van eyck would say: ‘whatever space and time mean, place and occasion mean more.’
the vertical circulation provides communication between floors, and access to rooms
the double height space from the second floor (pillow fight!)
storage space in the bedroom
the open workspace in the second floor is placed between two terraces
integrated lighting in the metal structure
integrated lighting in the railings
night view from the east façade
project name: REI house
location: requena, spain
architect: CRUX arquitectos
photography: milena villalba
designboom has received this project from our ‘DIY submissions‘ feature, where we welcome our readers to submit their own work for publication. see more project submissions from our readers here.
edited by: lynne myers | designboom