la pajarita
carmona, spain
2009

The Pajarita was a house of a traditional farmer tucked in the old caves and boulders on a prehistoric site on the outskirts of Carmona, a town 43 km north east of Seville in southern Spain.

nabil gholam architects carefully preserved the old farm house and turned the sheds of the animals (chickens, sheep and cows) into the new house, the new Pajarita, Spanish for “small bird” referring to the many birds in the area. The Pajarita includes an on-site natural ground water stream, and spacious rooms for a large family within the context of an ecological farm and residence. The site, under very strict preservation laws, and as part of a unique landscape facing the plain of Andalusia that used to be the granary and olive oil production center of the Roman Empire, only allowed for limited contemporary architectural interventions.

The new Pajarita, about 300m2 plus dependencies, was unified by a subtle design strategy of a free flowing and continuous interior and exterior space housed in a series of old and new rectangular volumes. This unified space centers around the primary living area contained within a glazed central space which provides views out into the plain and a focal point for the overall architectural composition. The rectilinear geometry of the primary box of the main living space topped with cantilevered horizontal eaves provides a contrast to the rich natural setting. Modern architecture here does not intrude on the landscape but rather becomes one with it as parts of the house are fused with the pre-existing rock outcroppings, grottoes and depressions. The rock and the house are treated as one in nga’s design. 

Exterior elements such as the outdoor pool, terraces and stairs are subtly woven into this overall architectural strategy as the whole complex blends into its surroundings.

This modern, ecological vision is not however only an aesthetic one but is part of the inclusive sustainability of the project. Within the design strategy there are spaces for recycling, mulching and more importantly solar heating, water collection across the roofs and parts of the land for irrigation. An important aspect of the building's environmental vision is the utilization of the heating and cooling cycles of the existing boulders -- 90% of the house and rocks face south, east and west to temper the outdoor seating all year round. As part of the landscape of Southern Spain, the Pajarita is important in the way it boldly integrates the raw power of this rocky landscape with a definitely clear contemporary architectural vision. It is very much local and “of the place” but is connected to the universal values of modern architecture in its eco-aesthetic design strategy.

area: 

2 floors 300 m², Land 55,000 m²
 

team:

architecture: nabil gholam architects
local architect: Gregorio Maraňon