4. March 2015
In recent years, architectural practice has undergone deep transformations. In countries with a strong artisan tradition, as is the case of Spain, the old model of studying architecture that could lead to being in charge of projects of very different scales has been substituted by vast engineering projects which blur the role of the classic creator in favor of market profitability. This new situation has been further aggravated by the serious socioeconomic crisis suffered above all by countries in the South of Europe, resulting in the new generation of architects facing work conditions that are very different from those of their predecessors, on many occasions installed in a new precarity of economic means and materials.
The young Madrid-based architecture studio made up by María Langarita and Víctor Navarro have confronted this new situation, so alien to the practices during those years of plenty which, on the other hand, they never managed to experience. They developed their work in the new precarity that arose with the economic crisis and they naturally adapt themselves to any kind of commission or conditions, from the urgency of ephemeral installations (such as the Red Bull Music Academy or constructing sets, exhibits or food stands) to competitions with a certain weight (such as the Medialab-Prado in Madrid) or single family dwellings. A large part of these works are performed upon existing buildings (another sign of the times), without leaving permanent traces, with the conviction that their intervention is only understandable as part of a sequence of actions upon what has been built that each generation contributes.
This issue of 2G is the first monograph to focus on the work of Langarita Navarro. The presentation of their work is preceded by three articles, from the German critic and editor Florian Heilmeyer, and the Spanish architects Daniel Fernández Pascual and Roberto González García. The nexus section includes a reflection by Langarita and Navarro themselves about the fact of building on the already existing ("Working with Time Machines") and a conversation between the architects and the author Andrea Valdés and the artist David Bestué.
2G 70 LANGARITA NAVARRO is available on visualMANIAC, Zinio & iBookstore (only digital)
Exterior retaining walls with local stone
The mountainous coast of Alicante has become a dispersed trans-European city, and its inhabitants are a diverse group who are attracted by the sun, sea, moderate climate, convenient services and lush vegetation. The promise of relaxed and hedonistic experiences captivates seasonal tourists as well as long-term residents who satisfy their expectations in scenarios full of jasmine and bougainvillea. The house slots into this context and is designed to meet the needs of several families in summer, while the rest of the year retirees live there.
View of the coast from the swimming pool
It is set on former agricultural terraces that compensate for the steep slope of the plot, and the differences in level mean that from the upper part there are some splendid sea views in the distance. From the lower level you see a wild stream which flows into the sea at a boulder-strewn inlet. The house makes use of the views and the breeze, and it takes advantage of the different levels and vegetation to create corners where, in daytime or at night, people can simultaneously enjoy a range of activities.
The existing trees were kept and some new species were brought in to conquer the promise of a dreamlike exuberance. The interiors cascade down the slope, with public areas at the upper level linked to terraces and lookouts. Lower down are bedrooms connected to the garden and swimming pool. A special kind of opening brings the outside activities into the interior.
The construction uses the thermal mass of concrete and stone, and the grace of the avocado green screens and glazed tiles to cool and ventilate the house. The geometry and mineral qualities are reflected in the imposing Ifach’s Crag nearby and, with maintenance kept to a minimum, this responds to an aspiration for time travel.
Presented by2G digital
Baladrar House (2009-13)
Benissa (Alicante), Spain
LANGARITA NAVARRO (María Langarita y Víctor Navarro)
Marta Colón, Roberto González García y Juan Palencia
Luis Díaz Díaz