house-studio / studio-house
«If we were asked what is the most precious benefit of the house, we would say: houses contain dreams,
the house protects the dreamer, the house allows us to dream in peace»
The Poetics of Space,G. Bachelard
Office and housing, often turn out to be a bad couple. A space in which to live and work induces, when the profession is that of architect, to a reflection on the processes behind creativity and daily life and, more importantly, the transfers between the two.
Work at home is now unpacked from the pejorative burden of other times. Certain liberal professions can afford to save costs by setting up a home office. There’s no need to live in Main Street. What is an office in a large city good for if one writes articles or translations to be send by email? In our professional practice we are proving that, using today’s everyday tools, a central location is becoming increasingly irrelevant. Delivery, transport and communication systems make feasible professional entrepreneurship in previously discarded places.
Add to this the convenience of taking a leap to the fridge for a mid-morning snack. In short, there are plenty of reasons to bring the work home. Although, in honesty to our history, we actually brought the house to work. But not all are advantages, considering the difficulty of drawing the fine line that keeps the inevitable domestic disputes at bay, or preventing the comfortable transfers from becoming crony interference.
All of these issues were discussed in the development of the proposal. Finally we understood that the result would be given by our attitude to life and profession. We asked ourselves Is the trade of the architect-designer a livelihood or an existential attitude? In our case the answer was clear. At all times we wanted to avoid divisions, even if the duality was clear, we opted for ambiguous spaces in the areas of tangency, such as the entrance / hall, the archive / bedroom or the multifunctional room of the upper floor. In floorplan, working areas,have a cross-orientation, intersecting with the domestic areas, clearly longitudinal, by their orientation to the corral. Lines intersect in an intentional contact. Moreover, the rooms can be adapted according to the personal and professional development. Like a living room that adapts as an exhibition space, or an office that becomes the master bedroom.
For this purpose La Posada turns out to be the ideal continent. Its rude but generous and sincere scheme offers itself to this dance of uses. Its diverse spatiality, from the hidden cellar to the nude materiality of the attic, is ideal for creative exploration and surprising findings. Finding a use to all of them led to an unexpected reflection on the creative process, both in its automations and in the moods that govern it. In the exercise of introspection, the steps that go from the communication of the order to the presentation of results are carefuly examined. A sometimes stormy journey that ranges from the unconscious stroke —we shall remember Aalto— to the inked precision of the engineer. We synthesized the process in four steps, each of them assigned to the three physical bays of the house and the imaginary one of the corral.
Even before experimentation there is in creation something subterranean, passionate and unconfessable. Feelings that nest well in abstract, primitive and enveloping environments, as in the darkness of the cellar. Why not stop thinking of it as an unhealthy corner in search of redemption and recognize it as what it is: a bridge to the subconscious. It was Bachelard who spoke of the basement as the “dark being of the house”: “in the basement the darkness remains night and day. Even with a light in his hand, in the basement, the man sees how the shadows dance over the black wall.” Dancing shadows, cavernous holes, all images that take us back to the origins of creation.
Experimentation instead demands light, in abundance, and volume. In the attic we find the large multifunctional room, a diaphanous space only interrupted by an old clay oven, this is the place that best meets those requirements. In it everything seems possible: testing materials and intuitions, exploring hidden talents, reaffirming the team, mere elucubration… In short, a workshop of ideas, in the broad sense of the expression. It is therefore important that it lays in contiguity with the office, which is where the synthesis and maturation of the concept is achieved.
But it would be unfair to conclude the description of the process here. We understand that the most fertile results are achieved only through withdrawal-return cycles. That is, at all intensive phases, one of disconnection must follow. The practice of decompression is as indispensable as it is healthy. We don’t mean abandonment, but a kind of otium, rewarding and useful, a pleasant and bearable occupation that will lead the mind to concerns only in appearance away. In our case it is an orchard, which we locate in that intuited and almost drawn fourth bay in the first terrace of the corral.
And in the meantime, present and tenacious, noisy and constant, boring and surprising, life is woven. Again La Posada gives us a hint, as the good actor who recites the first words for the companion to continue the text. A bright corral attracts vigorously rooms for daytime use. It is now a cross-sectional reading of the house, one that opens spaces, in a relationship of continuity for a long-awaited encounter between the house and its backyard. The location of the kitchen, dining room, bathroom and master bedroom respond to the same strategy, so most of the residential program is concentrated in the bay next to the backyard.
Along with the corral, the other defining feature of La Posada is the variable height of the facade, which leaves, towards the bottom of the plot, a semi-buried floor. These two characteristics define additional uses that overlap the circadian cycle. If the corral is bright, green, jovial, summerly… the cellar, dark, constant, hidden, with a large fireplace, inevitably reminds of winter. Both, in their own nature, are the natural expansion spaces of the home.