People say that the first work of an architect is normally a dwelling. It hasn’t been like this in our career. After more than half a dozen jobs and ten years work experience, it was impossible for us to be trusted by a client who wanted to build the house of their (our) dreams. Like this, arose the Martemar dwelling, with a brave client who had blind faith in our proposal, and he was patient to see it grow.
The client gave us a sunny location facing the sea, and surrounded by many houses all the same.
The house stretches on an allotment some meters above the sea level, from where distant landscapes can be viewed, profiting therefore from exceptional panoramic views.
The sea in front and the mountain at the back were our only horizons. For this reason the house is like a passing viewpoint in this direction and both directions; with all the interior spaces linked to these horizons.
We start with two porticos: one in front of the sea line and the other on the broken profile of the mountain.
Therefore the sea is framed by a sliding window of 25 metres, built thanks to a big prestressed concrete lintel fabricated many kilometres away. The beam was called giraffe, due to its slimness and its 50.000 kilos, and it was escort transported from the factory to be finally threaded on dowel bars of the structure in front of the amazement of the clients and friends, who assisted to the building show. On top of this big beam, 5 metallic trusses 20m nature light nature distance, form (and name) are supported, they constitute the edges of the programme, structurally and space linked to the porticos and always facing horizontal.
The bedrooms are between the structure, which manifests its nudity and beauty in all moments, during the construction and in the strong noise of the supports in dilatation, sonorous indicators that the structure feels its load and exposition, at the same time expresses its condition and raw effort, with all its flavour.
We like the nudity of the structures, and their expression from the construction. We incorporate solutions not habitual in dwelling programs and we try to solve them with constructive honesty, where the systems are assembled looking for new turn of the architecture language which comes from the meeting of elements of different scales.
The discovery is a tectonic of great sincerity which has deep roots in the constructive traditions. The support of the structures evokes classic construction systems and they have surprised us combining contemporaneous concerns with regards to the architectonic space, with basic principles of structures. It is in this point, where the static and the aesthetics meet, where we feel comfortable, manipulating the variables of the constructive principles and expanding the building material. To confront elements of extreme weight, and to differentiate between equals by its position or character, has allowed us to elaborate a dwelling of great complexity with metals, glass and concrete. Three families of materials and its combination, elaborate the shades, transforming concrete in cement slabs when we want greater lightness, and glasses which vary in transparency, from translucent to total reflex of a mirror.
And we like to find beauty in corners less explored and we get bored of the actions which do not involve some boldness and risk. All this complex system we wrapped up in what is called a project, and we could not find a company which shared the same enthusiasm, so we decided to build it with our hands, like the architects of all times.
Martemar House appears in the site like a singular architectonic object, like a stranger outside the architecture typical of the area, understanding every scale of the context. Taking advantage of the opportunities but ignoring pre-established trends.
Structural system & program
The structural system of the house organizes the program and generates the different living areas. It consists of two main portal frames: one in concrete formed by a beam of 2,75 meters high which makes up the garden façade, and the other a steel frame overlooking the entrance.
The two frames support five steel trusses, each of them with a different aesthetic and structural vocation. These five linear structural elements organize and delimit three functional strips, which establish relational sequences between them.
Exterior spaces are organized according to interior spaces distribution, so they are designed depending on the nature of the interior space which opens to them. This implies a successive public/private gradation of the open areas enclosing the house as well as the interior ambiences.