At the client's insistence on absolute independence, it was decided to create an enclosed precinct, a "hortus conclusus" or closed grove. The house, defined by four enclosure walls of 3.5 meters, is based on a square measuring 18 x 18 meters which is subdivided into three equal parts. Only the central portion is roofed. The square is then divided transversely by two, 2 meter high, walls into three parts with the proportions A, 2A, A, the service pieces being located on the sides.
The roof of the central space is taller, 4.5 meters high. At the points where the low walls intersect with the taller ones, four openings of 2 x 2 meters are made and simply glazed. It is through these four openings that the horizontal plane of stone paving expands, effectively obtaining a continuity of interior and exterior.
The white color of all the parameters contributes to the clarity and continuity of the architecture. The double symmetry of the composition is emphasized by the symmetric placement of four lemon trees, which produce contemplative reflections.
The Light in this house is horizontal and continuous, mirrored by the east-west orientation of the courtyard walls. Simply, a horizontal, continuous, space is tensed by a horizontal light.
My House in Summer is Shade
On the Gaspar House in Cádiz,
by Alberto Campo Baeza
My house in the summer is shade raised between four walls. Shade which as darkness is transparent from all the light that battles there.
My house in the summer is tranquility, a place where calm has settled, a heaven of peace to which one returns.
My house in the summer is a raft where my shipwrecked friends come to find the word that comforts, to rescue such lost time. Poems of nothingness, perhaps the most beautiful thing in life, are born there.
But, in the final analysis, what is the house and what is it like? It is a simple architecture. Four high walls, white and well designed, arranged with frugal wisdom. With an interior in carefully measured shade that persists, always, against the bold light. A solid floor of stone, as found, as if the earth had emerged to support our bare feet. And there in the background, in the center, a serene pond has been dug, containing an almost still water in silence.
A lost seagull bathes there, hardly touching or marking it. And so it is that the water in this shade is a mirror, an infinite periscope of the skies. And at its four clear cardinal points, piercing the stone to its core, lemon trees blossom, opening their white flowers each morning.
It is my house in summer architecture, in the fullest sense of the word. Enclosed garden, arcadia, paradise. Four walls and a tree and a pond. And light and darkness, in time. And the fresh stone floor that gives joy. Heaven on earth, after all, what else is architecture if not that?