As the first of 15 architect-designed dream houses for Christian Bourdais and Eva Albarran’s avant-garde new project Solo Houses, Casa Pezo is a monolithic concrete celebration of symmetry and simplicity, conceived with a mindful harmony between built environments and the natural world in mind.
The vision of Chilean studio Pezo Von Ellrichshausen, it occupies a unique vantage point over the expansive Spanish landscape of Matarraña, appearing to float above olive groves and vineyards as far as the eye can see.
The satisfying symmetry of Casa Pezo begins at the very beginning; with two identical entrances, both accessed from a single staircase. Housed in a thick central column, its an entryway that feels almost temple-like in its construction, with the steep steps creating a simple drama as they lead occupants up to the doors. From there, a spiral staircase winds up to the main floor of the house, with rooms opening out around a minimalistic courtyard of concrete and glass. This floor is on a platform balanced atop the column, creating a lightweight, floating sensation, as if it is hovering somewhere up in the sky.
Casa Pezo is the first residence completed as part of Solo Houses – a collection of architecture conceived to sit among a 100-hectare area of natural beauty by French developer Christian Bourdais, and art producer Eva Albarran. The premise to designers is simple each time – create your dream house – and there are little other restrictions in place. Through an innate belief in the beauty of simplicity, this is studio Pezo Von Ellrichshausen’s ideal design.
The feeling of lightness central to the experience of this house extends to the way shafts of sunlight move across the space throughout the day like sundials too. Floor-to-ceiling windows create this effect, and each of them slides fully open too, transforming rooms into terraces. In this way, all indoor spaces have the potential to become outdoor spaces here, acclimating with the air and the light as it changes. And that is another part of its transformative beauty; the pockets of darkness those shafts of light leave.
In his famous essay In Praise of Shadows, the Japanese author Jun’ichirō Tanizaki wrote that one of the purest forms of mindfulness can be found in shadowiness, so long as we make the effort to look past the light. Casa Pezo is a living example of this quiet power. Revelling in the way shadows shift slowly across its walls, its designers have created a reflective, meditative space, up above the landscape – somewhere to breathe and think, away from the noise.