The Sunflower House in Spain makes the most of sunlight and views
This new house by Spain- and Mexico-based practice Cadaval & Solà-Morales stands out for its quirky geometry and striking relationship with its surroundings. The context-driven design - led by the firm's directors, Eduardo Cadaval and Clara Solà-Morales - is positioned near Port de la Selva in Girona, Spain, and responds to the benefits and challenges of its exposed cliff top location. Cubic boxes protrude from each floor in a multifaceted composition, which opens up to seize as much sunshine as possible, framing magnificent maritime views in its wake. This gesture also lends the building its name, Sunflower House.
Takings its cue from the rich Catalonian nature, the green garden features shaded patios and a small pool looking towards the seaside. The interior is also focused on the uninterrupted views out to the Mediterranean, on to France and the Cabo de Creus National Park, both of which are visible from all three top-floor bedrooms and the downstairs living spaces. Each 'cube' is clad on one side in glass, boldly highlighted by thick black frames set against the structure's main white body.
The exact rotation of the cubic volumes is based on extensive study into daylight, as well as the architects' desire to shelter external areas. After all, the cliff is prone to one of the strongest winds in the peninsula - the Tramuntana, with gusts of up to 180 km/h.
The lower floor comprises an open-planned living, kitchen and dining space, but activities are spatially defined internally by the structural alcoves created by each protruding cubic form. A double height living space, generously lit by surrounding full-height glazing, unites the two floors.
Relaxation was the ultimate aim of the clients, a couple both working in international criminal law, who wanted a soothing home to return to after a stressful day at work. The soft monochrome finishes and calming panoramic views certainly help to achieve this. Combining concrete and cement blockwork walls, finished with a white, textural stucco exterior, the Sunflower House uses materials that feel at home in this region, but seen here within a distinctly modern design.