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House in Güemes ,Conversion of stable into house, by Zooco Estudio

This project consisted of the renovation and extension of a former stable located in Güemes —a small town to the east of Santander, Spain— to be converted into a seasonal home. The existing building faithfully reproduces the local, simple and unpretentious building system, consisting of stone walls supporting a wooden-structure gable roof with tiles.

Designed by Zooco Estudio

The nature of this architectural intervention is based on absolute respect towards that which already exists; respect not only towards the traditional materials used but also towards the type of space created in the interior. That is why the main spaces of the house are developed as a single unit in the large central space comprising the former stable. The sequence of uses composed of Kitchen / Dining room / Fireplace / Living room / Office / Bookshelves is developed in a linear pattern, under one same roof, characterised exclusively by the elements specific to each use, while always within the same neutral and global setting. Only the master bedroom, concealed behind a bookshelf, is separate to the general space. A second bedroom, which can be accessed by using the exterior stairs in the original passageway at the entrance to the building, is located above the main one, to complete the height of the annexed building.

To reinforce this idea of an open floor plan, a storage feature is built into the perimeter of the space, freeing up indoor space and highlighting the traditional wooden roof.

The only partial modifications to the existing architecture are those made to the facades. The existing openings have been enlarged on the east-facing and west-facing facades, with the idea of incorporating nature, and the inviting views of the Cantabrian mountains, into the interior. The north-facing and south-facing facades were in poor condition and have been opened completely. Another notable feature of the house is its privacy system consisting of sliding louvers on the south-facing facade, giving users full freedom to communicate with the outdoors.

The extension building has been designed from a more rational perspective, heir of a classical modern style. Its L-shape and its position on the site —almost in contact with the existing building, but not touching it— have facilitated the creation of an open space between the buildings. This is where the pool is located, and where the site’s best views can be admired. The new volume consists of accommodation for guests, a meeting room, a sauna and a transition porch area beside the pool.

As regards materials, the intervention has adopted the existing style. Local woods, stone from the area, white facades and tiles together make up the aesthetic of the unit. The concrete and the metal structure afford a contemporary counterpoint to this outstanding example of traditional Cantabrian architecture.

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