After a successful first part of his career the Spanish architect Javier Carvajal built the Casa Carvajal for his family. This 1000m² house made of rough concrete is remarkable for its spatial articulation and its adaptation to the surrounding environment.
A post-war rationalist architect
In the 60’s the Spanish architect Javier Carvajal (1926-2013) built a house for his family in the heights of Madrid. The Casa Carvajal is built in the second period of the architect’s work. After a first period marked by two remarkable works and mainly public buildings, he began to build housing and office buildings such as the Torre de Valencia but also private houses in the Somosaguas neighborhood. This neighborhood is one of the most sought-after residential areas in the country and proves the notoriety that the architect was already enjoying.
Building in concrete on the slope
The Casa Carvajal is located on a plot with irregular topography that had its influence in the project. In fact, Javier Carvajal designed a one-level house built on three main platforms resting on the slope. This first subdivision marks the will to adapt to the terrain, a feeling reproduced inside the house by flights of 2 or 3 steps that adjust to other small slopes. This horizontal space fragmentation allows the house to be divided into 4 zones: the adult zone, the children’s zone, the common area and the service area. This influence of the topography on the project is highlighted by two courtyards within the structure of the house, which allows to articulate the spatial flow of the house. Special attention is also given to the views from inside and to the illumination of the spaces. Different devices have been designed by the architect according to the functions of the program, the spatial organization, the land and the orientation of the plot.
Spatial articulation and interior-exterior transition
The rough concrete structure accepts the vegetation within it and maintains a dialogue with the land through its terraces. In fact, the structure of the house is strictly orthogonal, however the extension of the interior spaces towards the outside adopts a 45° change in some areas of the terraces. These rhomboids give an organic aspect to the structure of the building.
The succession of transitions and articulations within the house has been designed to recall the spatial sequences of the Alhambra, where one room is leaded by another. But the originality of the project also lies in the way this horizontal concrete sculpture, barely interrupted by three vertical chimneys, dialogues with its environment.
Photos: © Cristina Rodríguez de Acuña
Concrete and Nature
Photos: © Valeria Ozuna
Photos: © Hector Martinez J.