Real Estate Boom House


with Laura Migueláñez,
Mireia Gallego
Interior gardening by Alvaro Carrillo and Paula Currás
Photos by Adrià Cañameras, José Hevia, and Pol Rebaque.

Location: Cardedeu, Barcelona
Client: Jaume Casanovas, María Luisa Blanco Estébanez.

Simon Architecture Prize 2019
Bauwelt Prize 2019

Cardedeu, an old village located 45 km from Barcelona, experienced a significant suburban development during the Spanish real estate boom of the 1990s. The house at Bellavista 21, owned by Jaume and Maria Luisa, can be considered paradigmatic of the aesthetic fostered by this financial phenomenon for at least three reasons—

First, the house’s original design, materials and construction details reveal the imaginaries of opulence that drove part of real-estate-boom design in Spain: the staircase of the house is located inside a crenel-crowned tower with lancet arch windows; the entrance verandah is supported by prefabricated, casted Doric columns; the hall and the staircase are covered in mass-produced Andalusian tiling.

Second, the privileged views over the old town from the house’s back façade, at the edge of a suburban area and cow fields, are under continuous threat: once the country experiences an economic recovery, the fields will probably be urbanized.

And third, the house’s domestic interior attests to the radically different generational sensitivities that have constituted the boom. In the interior of Bellavista 21, large amounts of traditional, Castilian craftwork produced by Maria Luisa, which recall the rural origins of the family, are placed alongside signature design objects acquired per the suggestion of Maria and Jaume’s sons.

The intervention attempts to highlight these three conditions through a single operation. The staircase was archaeologically restored using old Castilian craft techniques mixed with new technologies that highlight the original materials and details. As if they were ruins, these boom remnants are filled with plants to serve as a substitute to the house’s endangered back views of the fields, soon to disappear.