Castellar del Vallès

  • LOCATION Castellar del Vallès
  • > CLIENT Private
  • YEAR 2017
  • STATUS Built
  • CATEGORY Architecture
  • SCALE City
  • TEAM OUA Group

“We played with the volume as if it were a sculpture by Chillida”

When it comes to designing new buildings, it is common to come up against the regulatory limitations imposed by the morphology of the location, which condition height, volume, materials and colours. This residential complex of three blocks with a communal area and swimming pool in Castellar del Vallès is not the case. In this place, the feeling of complete freedom and the client’s predilection for terraces moved the OUA team (led by Òscar Company) to create two very different (but united by their materiality) façades which give the project spaciousness, luminosity, identity and a sculptural atmosphere.

How do the two façades of the building take shape?
The exterior façade – which faces the street – respects and preserves continuity with the urban front. On the other hand, the interior one is shaped like a staircase with wide terraces, establishing a friendlier relationship with the communal space in the swimming pool area and making the most of the solar radiation and the South-facing orientation of the interior façades. In this way, all the neighbours can enjoy the same terrace space throughout the year. However, the whole complex can be read as a unit. We have treated it as an object excavated by the garden, playing with the volume as if it were a sculpture by Chillida.

What does “played with the volume like a sculpture by Chillida” mean?
As we had no constraints with regards to height, volume and other regulations set by the environment, we were able to play with the shape. We started with a rectangular block, and we made cuts to achieve the best light effects, as this is often done in sculpture. The play of full and empty spaces is reminiscent of certain pieces by Chillida.

What is the reason for the choice of materials and colours?
We have opted for three very expressive materials: brick walls, glass and aluminium, and black steel. The brick walls finished in white give fresh yet elegant air to the volume. The significant presence of glass on both façades gives transparency and permeability to the dwellings. The micro-perforated steel fences add a touch of sophistication and connect the building at the base in the form of an elegant belt. Despite the expressivity and the radical choice of materials, they operate as a whole in a discreet manner.

What role does light play in the definition of the project?
The intervention of light is an essential element and, consequently, this gives the almost sculptural singularity of the complex. The large windows on the façade facing the street and the large terraces on the interior façade of the block (with a North-South orientation) bring light into the interior of the entire house. These windows allow maximum use of the sun and allow natural cross-ventilation to be established, which improves the thermal comfort of the homes.

How has the development turned out?
Being a project with a tight budget for execution, the results achieved are very satisfactory in terms of the quality of the dwellings, the users’ experience, the materiality and the singularity of the appearance. As architects, we must take the risk of proposing new solutions for the client that can add value to the proposals. Limited resources do not necessarily mean modest projects.