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Box House: Based around a traditional Mediterranean patio, this modest private house is a finely judged response to site and climate.

BAAS is the only firm to be recognized twice by this year's jury, receiving an award with distinction for their municipal mortuary in Leon (p43), and a commendation for the CH house at La Garriga, near Barcelona. It takes its form from the long rectangular site, and is organized as a progressive sequence of interlocking spaces moving from public on the street side to private, where the house opens to the increasing slope and swimming pool. The architects suggest that the building is 'a matchbox gently dropped onto the grass'. There is a continuous interplay between transparency and white opacity, view and closure, partly because the presence of neighbours on both sides who seem too close to the client.

From the drive, the route leads to the timber wall that signals the move from semipublic to private areas of the garden. Deflected left to the glass entrance plane, you can see the single most important organizing element, the interior court, which is overlooked on its three internal sides by large sheets of glass, from the surrounding interior areas, so at first everything seems to flow fluidly together.

In fact, to the left of the entrance are three rooms for children and guests. To the right is the gradually unfolding sequence of living area and the portico that runs along the entire front of the house. From the living area, a stair rises to the long thin private sitting room/study that looks out over stunning views. A small timber balcony that serves this space and hovers over the portico adds to the sense of formal and spatial intricacy.

The jury was impressed with the ways in which the many different kinds of space are nuanced together, and how well and thoughtfully the house is constructed.
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Title Annotation:designed by BAAS
Publication:The Architectural Review
Article Type:Brief Article
Geographic Code:4EUSP
Date:Dec 1, 2001
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