Horizon over the sea
Elsa Ana Ramirez
A hundred and twenty kilometres south of Lima on the edge of the ocean stands a small village called Cerro Azul, named after the blue rocks of the surrounding hills. Here Javier Artadi, one of South America’s most acclaimed architects, recently designed a house called Las Palmeras. With its appealing parallelepiped shape, a form that is essential but not minimalist, it stands out from and yet blends into the natural surroundings. It extends over three levels, each of which has a different size and is autonomous in terms of its layout and aesthetics. The first level, clad with a lively mosaic of small stones that appear to merge with the nearby rocks, houses the garage and the guest area. The second floor, which serves as the master sleeping area, has a striated skin with large windows. The third level, with the lounge, dining area and kitchen, is the most unusual in that alongside the closed volume there is also a large open overhanging terrace.
Protected by two side walls with openings to allow light and air to filter in, this terrace houses an open-air living room and a narrow swimming pool that also serves as a parapet. «I wanted to create the impression of floating on the sea, as if one were on the deck of a ship,» explained Artadi. The large, spacious interiors look out over the ocean and draw from it as a source of decoration. The décor is sparse, with objects set into the walls and projecting just enough to create a sense of movement in the interiors. The materials adapt to the theme of a sequence or stratification, with glass, steel and wood taking over from stone and in turn followed by coloured concrete. Geometric and monochromatic ceramic tiles are used on the floors. The choice was far from random: the dark grey Stromboli finish from Casalgrande Padana’s Basaltina collection suggests an environmental connection with the surrounding stones and at the same time creates an aesthetic contrast with the strong white of the walls. It also emphasises the layout of the spaces with elegance and precision. In the spectacular terrace, almost an open courtyard, the tiles take on a leading role. The floor extends into the swimming pool, marking the boundary between artifice and nature, between the built environment and the marine landscape.
The result achieved by Javier Artadi is truly remarkable. It pointed to a mature, personal language that is influenced by Greek, Italian and Moroccan marine architecture on the one hand and inspired by the work of Le Corbusier on the other, while at the same time adapting to the specific needs of the location. «In my projects I set myself two goals: to create a work of architecture that is geometrically clear and simple to interpret; and to enable human activities to be performed smoothly and in the simplest and most effective way possible. I also strive to minimise the quantities of materials used.»
The effect of all these things is a kind of metaphysical construction, a conceptual architecture that enhances the sensation of silence and makes for an appealing place to live.
Casalgrande Padana, Pietre Native Basaltina
Water absorpion (ISO 10545-3): ≤ 0,10%
Chemical resistance (ISO 10545-13): compliant
Resistance to deep abrasion (ISO 10545-6): compliant
Stain resistance (ISO 10545-14): compliant
Frost resistance (ISO 10545-12): compliant
Modulus of rupture and breaking strength (ISO 10545-4): 50÷60 N/mm2
Slip resistance (DIN 51130): ≥ 0,6 in matt surface
Thermal shock resistance (ISO 10545-9): compliant
Crazing resistance (ISO 10545-11): compliant
Linear thermal expansion (ISO 10545-8): compliant