It is like a painting: the breathtaking view from the idyllic hills of Valencia. Quarry House was designed to fully immerse itself in the flanks of this sloping landscape, yet still stand out. Renowned architect Ramón Esteve surpassed himself with this architectural masterpiece.
The hills of Valencia offer architectural challenges that only a few dare to tackle. Ramon Esteve, one of the world's most renowned architects, is not afraid of extreme conditions and chose to build a house that strategically matches this breathtaking landscape. The Quarry House is designed as a series of stacked' boxes', where the view from each floor is always sensational. Esteve also designed the house in such a way that the opposite sides consist of concrete and marble on the one hand, and glass to bring in the panoramic views on the other. This gives an open feeling of lightness and transparency, making the residence a place to relax and become one with the vast horizon. Imagicasa got the exclusive opportunity to have a conversation with Ramón Esteve about his beautiful project.
What was the assignment of the owners for this house?
“The owners were looking for a contemporary house that fits seamlessly with the site in such a way that it would produce breathtaking results and that they could feel connected to it.” Where did you find the inspiration for this project?
“The inspiration came from the condition of the piece of land and its position on top of a hill in an established residential area. The view from this hillside over the surrounding landscape is phenomenal. While climbing this hill was initially a problem, it was also the starting point of the solution and the current structure as it stands.”
How was the house built in these special circumstances?
“The condition of the ground and the surroundings made us think about the usual layout of a house, so we have placed the communal areas at the top for an optimal view. The house is designed as a series of stacked 'boxes' that were built against the mountain slope and where terraces were placed on their intersections. These terraces offer a view of two opposite landscapes on both sides; on one side is the sea with the pool as a complement, and on the other side the Mediterranean forest.”
The interior of the house emphasises the lightness of the external structure.
What is the philosophy behind the layout of the house?
“Our idea was to create an essential volume with a solid yet light-weight look, integrated into the environment and showing the power of the robust materials.”
Could you tell me something about some of the key pieces of the interior?
“The interior of the house emphasises the lightness of the external structure. It was designed as a large open space where the onyx pieces give each room its own character. For example, the illuminated natural stone stairs are extremely important in the interior. A special structure was designed for uniform lighting. This idea came about during a conversation with our client, who runs a marble company and trades such special materials. When we visited his factory, we saw that this stone had an almost sculptural character that would perfectly serve as the 'background cloth' of the rooms.”
What materials and colours were used in this project and why?
"One of the starting points of the design was to showcase the unique, raw aspect of the materials. The different levels are made of white concrete, which emphasizes the sculptural quality of the structure of the house. For the floor, both inside and outside, we used the same material with a different treatment. The use of wide-format tiles (1.20x2.40m) of 'Ivory Cream' marble creates an uninterrupted space in which the 'Neve D' or' - or 'Vulcano Onyx' - planes reflect the aesthetic values of the house.”
How would you describe Ramon Esteve's distinctive style?
"Our motto is, 'places where you would like to live'. The keystone of our architecture is the creation of spaces with an identity that finds its essence in the residents.”
How is the Ramon Esteve style incorporated into this project and how does it stand out from earlier projects?
"My architecture comes from a combination of personal evolution and a certain continuity. On the one hand, my approach to a design is always the same, but this individual evolution means that the same requirements generate two different designs at different times. External factors influence a person and also his work". How did the preparation and implementation of the project go?
"We care about the process as well as the result, so the entire experience from designing the first second until its construction is important. Each design is the result of a journey we take together with the customer and which begins with his requirements, the location, the resources available, etc. I am always looking for a concept that leads the design process and is supported by an involved, multidisciplinary team. The design has always been developed under this premise, which also immediately structures my work.”
What was the biggest challenge in this project?
"Our biggest challenge was the location, where all the elements that made up the project produced a unique and soulful result. The project radiates peace, convenience and simplicity in such a way that this simplicity is the result of complexity.”
This interview was originally published in Imagicasa Spring 2018.
All images © Mariela Apollonio