The Plaza Nueva in Alicante city is historically a place of transit, the centre of nowhere and a place of social exchange at the time of the town’s first extension outside the city walls. It was Alicante’s first working-class neighbourhood, an ensemble that created an urban image of academic composition of the end of the nineteenth century.
The dwelling occupies one floor as well as the loft of an old building giving on to the square. The space was limited, but there was a lot to be done. The home was designed based on its users’ future actions, relationships and their philosophy of life. The links between users and the space, together with their vision of it, can be altered through small gadgets that morph the spaces while the different areas inter-mingle so their usage can be optimised. Thanks to these tricks, the rooms can be altered and joint together, transforming themselves depending on the various usages, allowing for a variety of actions in the same space. Sensations are brought about through the creation of interior micro landscapes where water, light and vegetation take over in this quest to generate manifold spaces for shared uses.
It was decided to locate the home’s private area on the lower floor and the public area on the upper floor, in order to optimise the use of the old loft terrace. The private area was given intimacy using walls and moving shelves, converting the open space on the ground floor into a small labyrinth of stairs that lead you to the upper floor. These walls and shelves guarantee the home’s environmental functioning, generating different flows and ventilation depending on the successive usages throughout the day.
The upper floor is the most public one. It is reached through the staircase, which winds around until facing the square. To produce a surprise effect, the ceiling changes, the original wooden beams and joists, visible on the lower floor, are concealed under the folding ceiling. We were looking to convey the image of a cave, that would be abrupt, playful and sociable. The variations in the walls and in the ceiling hide storage elements together with the structure and installations, generating sensory and optical effects through changing perspectives. The fact of being able to see the entire width and length of the dwelling at any time, on any floor makes the home, which is relatively small, look much bigger. The hexagonal tiles and artificial grass separate the zones and usages within the same space, marking the different areas for relaxing, reading or playing.
The light that enters during the day is reproduced at night. As the home faces north, the light is scattered, except in the kitchen and the back of the living room, which face south and west. Textured, backlit glass enclosures allow the entrance of light into the same places at night, generating a moiré effect, which distorts movement, in line with the works of the Alicante artist Eusebio Sempere, a reference for CRYSTALZOO architecture.
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