Located on a cliffside overlooking the Mediterranean Sea, this house by Cadaval & Solà-Morales is a cluster of 10 cubes that are each oriented towards a different viewpoint (+ slideshow).
Cadaval & Solà-Morales, an architecture studio based in both Spain and Mexico, designed the two-storey residence as a home for a couple in a fishing village on the north-easterly tip of Spain's Costa Brava.
The clients asked for a house that takes advantage of the impressive scenery, but to do this the architects had to overcome a major issue – the cliffside location is directly exposed to the harsh northerly Tramontane wind.
"Mel and Geoff wanted a house that was fully exposed to the views, but they never imagined that their plot was tremendously exposed to one of the strongest winds of the peninsula, and did not get almost any direct sun radiation," said the team.
"So the project starts from this dichotomy – reinforce the relation to the sea, while finding and attracting the sun into the house."
The result is a building made up of different segments, angled to catch the sun at different times of the day while also framing a variety of views out towards the ocean. This prompted the building's name – Sunflower House.
"The house is also a big solar collector, a mechanism to bring light and heat into the house – like a giant sunflower," said the team.
There are five cubes on each storey, which together enclose a generous double-height living space.
They also frame a patio that is sheltered from the wind, allowing residents to sit outside on blustery days.
Despite the sloping nature of the terrain, the house was largely built on one level platform.
This made it possible to create a ground-floor entrance at the rear, which leads through one cube into the open-plan living space.
A staircase leading upstairs cuts through the centre of the space, alongside a central lounge.
A dining area and small seating area are housed within the two cubes at the front, while two at the side house a television area and a kitchen.
"The house wants to identify each of the particularities of this magnificent landscape," said the architects.
"With its geometry, the house frames a multiplicity of different and specific views, and builds up content spaces that inhabit great big framed views."
Upstairs, the five cubes accommodate three double bedrooms, two bathrooms and a guest room. Glazed doors allow some of these spaces to open out to rooftop balconies.
"From the interior the experience of the house is continuous: from any point of the house one feels closely related to the immediate milieu by incorporating one or other view into the numerous spaces," added the architects.
A simple materials palette was chosen for both inside and outside. The outer walls are coated in a textured white render, while white internal walls are accompanied by a concrete floor.
A heavy-duty glass more typically used in skyscraper construction was also chosen, ensuring that windows are resistant to strong winds and salt water.
Photography is by Sandra Pereznieto.
Architects: Cadaval & Solà-Morales
Team: Eduardo Cadaval, Clara Solà-Morales
Collaborators: Moisés Gamus, Joanna Pierchala, Efstathios Kanios
Building engineering: Joaquin Peláez
Structural engineering: Manel Fernández, Bernuz-Fernandez
Construction Company: Joaquin Gonzalez Obras y Construcciones