Casa Doble by María Langarita & Víctor Navarro

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Casa Docle by María Langarita & Víctor Navarro

This rectangular house in Zaragoza by Madrid architects María Langarita and Víctor Navarro has an irregular geometric platform hanging off the front to afford views of the olive groves beyond.

Casa Docle by María Langarita & Víctor Navarro

Called Casa Doble (Double House), the house was designed for a newly-wed couple who wanted to escape from the city to the Spanish countryside.

Casa Docle by María Langarita & Víctor Navarro

The ground floor acts as garage and entertaining space, while the main functional rooms are on the first floor.

Casa Docle by María Langarita & Víctor Navarro

The wooden frame around the house will eventually be covered by deciduous climbing plants to provide privacy from the street and summer shading.

Casa Docle by María Langarita & Víctor Navarro

Here's some more information from the architects:


Casa Doble

Moving their home to the outer limits of a small town in the province of Zaragoza is the wish of a newly married couple about to retire. Embodied in their decision lies the conviction that it is possible to both undergo a radical change and still enjoy the comforts of their previous life. To explore this dual situation a project has been designed which attempts to evade its usual position as a solution at the end of a process and to take positions as starting point or state previous to the development.

Casa Docle by María Langarita & Víctor Navarro

It is generally accepted that the difference between the rural and the urban worlds has to do with the proximity to certain centres and to the specific ways of life derived from them. Descriptions linked to constructions (in their broadest sense) which display spaces, rhythms and rituals between people and their surroundings. With this project, our aim was to evaluate, starting with the home, which housing conditions and expectations of life could mobilise each of these forms by contrasting them with the experiences and wishes of the clients. The conversations led to a duality of interests: on the one hand those regarding manageability, ways of use, organisation and representation associated to those of a conventional urban flat; and on the other hand, the search for an uninhibited, light-hearted and active life, linked to the outdoors and a move to a softened “wild life”.

Casa Docle by María Langarita & Víctor Navarro

The plot, with a gentle, northward slope overlooking a wide, cultivated valley, is within the boundaries of the mountain town of Algairén, devoted mainly to the production of wine and oil.

Casa Docle by María Langarita & Víctor Navarro

The land is part of an olive grove, annexed to the perimeter of the village. The house is positioned on the north side along the length of the developable limit in order to gain a small garden and a vegetable patch to the south and have privacy from the street. The project has been developed using two parallel houses, elevated a storey above ground level to enjoy views of the valley and the olive trees.

Casa Docle by María Langarita & Víctor Navarro

The first is a rectangular structure, conventional in construction with a narrow section, inheritor of the ideas of the modern movement where the nuclei of kitchen and bathroom areas separated the various living spaces thus always ensuring independence, dual orientation and cross ventilation.

Casa Docle by María Langarita & Víctor Navarro

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Leaving the windows behind on the southern façade (as would an adolescent Gerald Durrel in search of adventure), the second home can be reached: an irregular geometric platform covered by a structural wooden shutter which folds to create different, unplanned areas connected directly to the bathrooms and kitchen self-contained functionality.

Casa Docle by María Langarita & Víctor Navarro

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The two structures achieve specific characteristics and are geared to use and optimise the house’s resources. The inside of the house is extended on the ground floor to resolve the programme’s requirements.

Casa Docle by María Langarita & Víctor Navarro

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The central nucleus which gives access to the upper floors separates two areas, of non-referential character, serves as a garage and party area. The exterior of the house is covered by a wooden frame with deciduous climbing plants that ensure intimacy from the street while at the same time stopping the house getting hot in the summer and guarantees, along with the planted roof, one of the foundations of the project: the avoidance of mechanical HVAC systems and savings in energy resources.

Casa Docle by María Langarita & Víctor Navarro

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The double house avoids blurring the limits between both desired ways of life or finding a single equal space. On the contrary, the project, with its duality, offers a coexistence of two differentiated house designs encouraging a state of permanent transition.

Casa Docle by María Langarita & Víctor Navarro

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Almonacid de la Sierra, Zaragoza
Architects: María Langarita y Víctor Navarro
Collaborators: Marta Colón, Roberto González, Juan Palencia
Engineers: Mecanismo S.l.
Construction Year: 2009
Client: Private


See also:

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Serpentine Gallery
House in Wakaura
by Archivi Architects
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  • felix

    The wooden frame doesn’t seem to be designed to afford good views from the house or good climbing surfaces for plants. I’m positive it’s only been designed this way because of the current trend for objects that look like wireframe computer models. You can see in the last drawing that they think a geometric wooden frame has some similarity with the trees (bottom left), though this is clearly not true in real life.

    The label on the tower block in that same drawing is very unfortunate. It reveals the real desire of this client – they don’t want to escape the city; they want to escape the ‘common’ people in the city. So they take a piece of city with them into the expensive countryside.

    I think a better response to this situation would have been a rural and humble building with a small part that harked back to the city.

    Like the man in the photos wearing the wolf head, this architect and client only want to wear a mask of nature while still being obnoxious city people.

  • Mario

    Hehe, funny…that mister wolve looking out over the lands. Anyway, very nice design! Well done

  • roadkill

    love the mask…. or is it really a house for a werewolf?

  • edward

    Excellent! I like the idea of the money being put into getting the most space
    possible and natural cooling. Why does one need a grand statement for a simple house. a machine for living.

  • Kristen

    i like the wolf mask…lol

  • bolaño

    Pero que güay es el hijo de Navarro Baldeweg…

    ¿Qué es lo que aprendiste de tu padre?
    ¿Que en arquitectura hay que ser un lobo, ó que hay que ponerse una máscara?

  • truthnbeauty

    felix speaks the truth…………

    much contrived rhetoric that doesn’t translate into design…………….

    ‘a wolf in sheep’s clothing’?………….

  • edward

    I agree Felix that the lattice work is a strange accretion that blocks the view.
    Better a tradition veranda for a country home.

  • Bob

    i dont know how much does this coutryside land cost? but, a “tradition veranda for a coutry home” is the better option???? oh la la

    i think is a nice proyect, simple and enjoyable,
    and i like the wolf performance too.

    well done!

  • troufanov

    “I’m positive it’s only been designed this way because of the current trend for objects that look like wireframe computer models.” -mr. naysayer

    I really doubt that that is the sole reason they did that…You are positively mistaken (and a bit too dramatic).
    Despite all the negative comments, I think the wooden lattice works great as an outdoor space and viewing platform. Did you notice the huge openings in the wooden lattice that are coordinated with the huge windows/sliding doors?

  • edward

    The text was heavy going so I skimmed it initially, but with a re-reading,
    and with a reference to the plan, the porches work as individual to each “house.” with a connecting corridor. I would have like slimmer members for a lighter feeling but the exaggerated shapes add interest to a plain facade.

  • http://www.mmflouter.blogspot.com Michael

    Hmm first impression: ‘Why on earth is there a cage around the house…?’
    Can’t wait until it’s covered with climbing plants… The picture with the wolf mask only confirms the cage idea. It’s almost as if the habitants are deported form the city instead of trying to escape it.
    The platform is great as an outdoor space but the woodenframe seems to decrease its quality and therefore isn’t the best way to provide privacy and shade. It definitely gives the building a unique identity though.

  • felix

    “I really doubt that that is the sole reason they did that…You are positively mistaken (and a bit too dramatic).”

    So if it’s not the sole reason what’s your suggestion?

    Sorry if I’m dramatic, but it’s a natural reaction to smug bs architecture.

    Regarding the openings in the lattice, there are only two of them and these don’t give views from the two usable balcony areas. It looks like they decided on using the diagonal timber framing and added the openings later to mitigate the cage-like feeling. Easier solution: don’t build a cage.