Sliding glass doors open concrete house by Narch to views of national park near Barcelona

This family home by Narch is crafted from concrete slabs, steel columns and sliding glazing that permits views out over a Spanish nature reserve.

Calders House by Narch

The Spanish architecture studio designed Calders House for clients with two young children for a plot in the small village of Calders, which sits on the edge of the Sant Llorenç del Munt i l’Obac natural park.

The park is renowned for its landscape of red rocks, mountains and cliffs jutting through forests of black pine and oak. With such striking nature quite literally on the back doorstep, Narch wanted to created a home that made the most of the surrounding vistas.

Calders House by Narch

“We wanted to design a house that is more like exterior garden than interior, a space in which furniture and plants are placed directly under the blue sky,” said Narch founders Joan Ramon Pascuets and Monica Mosset.

“Our aim is a living space with a feeling of openness and connection to the richness of the environment.”

Calders House by Narch

Two horizontal concrete slabs form the two floors of the house, while the third, the roof is supported by slim steel columns.

Exterior walls were kept to a minimum, with floor-to-ceiling sliding glass doors and in-between spaces between the interior rooms and the garden that functions as a shaded veranda when the doors are pulled back.

Calders House by Narch

“We like the idea of designing a house with the feeling of a Volkswagen camper van, which is seen as a rolling symbol of independence and freedom, combining comfort, performance and style living with nature,” explained the architects.

Other houses in the village have ground-floor garages with living spaces occupying the upper floors. Narch decided to invert the layout for Calders House to make the most of its sloping site, placing the garage and home studio on the upper floor at street level and the family rooms below in line with the garden.

Calders House by Narch

The garage doubles as another shaded outdoor area for the family to use. Inside, the concrete floor has been cut away to form a gallery above the living room, with a suspended steel staircase providing access to the lower level.

The open plan kitchen and living room can be opened to the garden on two sides, and the doors also slide back to give the bedrooms access to the gardens via the veranda.

Calders House by Narch

The polished concrete slabs have been left exposed, with industrial-style bare-bulb lights hanging from the ceilings and raw wood accents on the internal walls.

White mesh curtains allow for privacy when desired, and fine white netting on the upper balconies and staircase make the home child-safe without detracting from the sense of openness.

Calders House by Narch

The 240-square-metre property, which was conceived in 2014 and completed in 2016, cost €215,000 (£191,333 at today’s exchange rate) to build, which equated to €895 (£796) per square metre.

“This is a house with a very small budget but with open-minded clients,” said Pascuets and Mosset.

Calders House by Narch

Narch’s philosophy is to make their architecture “a background of people’s activity”, using a light touch with boundaries and construction to create neutral and useable spaces.

In Barcelona, Narch removed the partition walls of an apartment to reveal a collage colourful patterned floors tiles to create space for the clients to entertain.

Photography is by Adrià Goula.

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