el azahar · altea

After returning to his native Europe, a Frenchman who had been living in Tokyo falls in love with a house that catches his eye from the pages of a magazine at the dentist’s office in Paris. He writes down its name: Can Gadja by architect Jaime Romano. Later, he asks for advice about architects in Ibiza to a friend who works for Bouygues construction company. His friend names two people. One of them is Jaime Romano.

The client’s attitude is something to be highlighted in certain projects. Absolute confidence and no rush. Casa Altea was developed over time –no pressure at all– by Jaime Romano and Peruvian architect Augusto Román. In the end, the architecture enhanced the place.

An old house existed already, nestled among the pines. It’s on the edge of the mountain, where two slopes meet, in a dense urbanization with gigantic ‘monsters’ huddling behind. The whole scene was crying out for a topographic survey to play with the inclines of the terrain.

Furthermore, the pine forest is very delicate. In the agreement with the builder, each tree was numbered and priced –high– to ensure the excavator would be handled with care.

The client dreamt of a house that could also be kind of a village, where several nuclei would be disconnected from each other. Each floor should be able to be separated from the rest, too – even facilities should, depending on how many residents would be staying at a time. A flexible space in an open universe, Zen and mineral somehow, that would generate areas for intimacy and separate atmospheres while intensifying the landscape’s views.

So we proposed an adaptable house, with a mechanism that could expand and contract, like bellows following the family’s pace of life. To achieve a continuum with the pine grove we worked with black stone from Moragues, which allowed us to make outdoor flooring, retaining walls, even stairs while suddenly blurring the transition between the construction and the rock of the referred Mediterranean hill.

Altea, Alicante
2005 – 2011

Architects
Jaime Romano
Augusto Román

Collaborators
José del Solar

Structures
Bernuz Fernandez Arquitectos

Building engineers
Paqui Almiñana – construction management
Joaquín Pérez
Emilio Martínez

Constructor
Ripoll Construcciones

Industrials
Box 3 Interiores
Vitrocsa – Carpinterías Mairata
Vicente Torres –metallic joinery
Gunni Trentino – bathroom furniture
Jorge Muñiz –  landscaping

Publications
Arquitectura y Diseño no. 125
París Match no. 566

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