A family with many stories of travel wanted a house that would help them tell these stories. The wanted to live in a garden, and for their house to “embody the cinematic diversity of domestic life.” In response, Z4Z4 architects designed a house in 3 levels, a house that at one glance is difficult to comprehend but has achieved all the desired characteristics nonetheless.
The architect has defined the composition as a juxtaposition of two different houses on the same plot with a void in between. The first is underground, and the other above the surface of the earth.
The house underground is a composition of two volumes surrounded by concrete walls with a courtyard in the centre. They are connected by a corridor surrounding this courtyard. The architect explains, “In the South there is a garden for “the Good Life”, to the North lurks the “Grotesque Garden” — in the middle is the promising double height greenhouse. Over this green sequence along the plot, a smooth surface, based at ground level, lets Nature cross over the slab and the car to pass through from one side to the other over the dining-kitchen area.”
The void gives way to the car park, an entrance and two staircases, working as a thermal regulator and constructing a tracking shot between a garden, a folie and a picturesque grotto while crossing through the lounge, sauna-fitness center, bar, dining room and kitchen.
“The scenic load of this space is achieved through the exposure of domestic life circulating between floors,” says the architect.
The level above is a complete contrast, a composition of three cylindrical volumes wrapped in a thin corrugated iron sheet that seems as if it is a weightless curtain. Inside are 9 bedrooms that hold their souvenirs.
“One of the houses is organized to inhabit the soil with its habits and routines. The other was made light-heartedly, emancipating from the ground, in the air, flying at a double height over the garden. Both are totally different from each other in materiality, shape and weight. The most important spatial interest of the complex is the heterogeneous, ambiguous and membranous space that appears between the two houses.”
While the first impression of this structure is unfriendly and cold, it surprises by being the complete opposite. The void reveals life inside the house, comfortable and full of light. It reveals a cinematic diversity of domestic life just as the clients desired.
By: Sahiba Gulati