Summer House for the Fashion Photographer José Ferrater
This starkly beautiful summer house is made up of an organic cluster of one-room pavilions that blends architectural grandeur with informal weekend living.
An exterior stair behind his studio accesses a view of the wine-dark Mediterranean sea.
Architect Carlos Ferrater’s weekend house on the arid Costa del Azahar of Barcelona is for his brother, José Manuel Ferrater, the fashion photographer.
Ferrater plants a stately rows of palms heading towards the sea in an ironic reference to the surrounding fertile gardens, orchards, and rice fields of organized architecture.
“Those palms, planted in formation, are like the rows of lettuce and tomatoes next door.”
Built using vernacular construction methods and architectonic forms, pavilions begin on a platform raised 20 inches above the sandy, gravel ground.
To protect against occasional winter flooding, a low concrete wall perimeter is used to divert floodwaters.
The exterior platform is formed onsite of board-formed precast concrete, bringing some contrast to the white stucco, and easily drained when drenched in winter downpours.
The three main pavilions are arranged around a central outdoor living space never threatened by showers during the region’s long dry summers when it is in use.
For the interiors, terrazzo is used on the floors, and the patterned texture of the low-fired hollow brick of the walls and ceiling vaults is exposed, and also painted white.
The only graphic relief comes from the dappled shade of a trellis composed of natural lengths of wood that create the random patterns of nature.
Just one lemon tree is provided with water in the arid sandy gravel dirt for a contrast against the white canvas of stucco blocks.
To emphasize the formal white spaces set starkly against Barcelona’s blue skies, Ferrater worked with a small local builder using traditional construction techniques, such as shallow roof bovedillas and crisp stucco masonry exteriors.