location: PGA Catalunya, Girona, Spain | architecture: Studio RHE | photography: Roger Casas
This new villa is one of a number to be built around the perfected landscape of the PGA Catalunya championship golf course. A prerequisite was that it would be unseen from the course, yet provide pristine, upper echelon residential accommodation with extraordinary internal and external living spaces.
The brief to the architects of Studio RHE called for modern villas with sustainable ambitions, which would indicate a marked difference from the modernist white boxes already offered on the site.
Say the architects: ‘The initial challenge was the terrain. The site is steeply inclined and located in a forest that we wanted to maintain. We set out to create architecturally modern villas that embrace the landscape and views, but to achieve this while protecting every tree on site and with a direct link to the architectural vernacular and traditions of the area’.
A series of plateau spaces create an elevated reception area overlooking the terrace and infinity pool. The mountains beyond appear to be set among the tree canopy. In synch with a stone wall, the building materials were chosen for their local connections and ability to age with beauty.
On arrival at the front door, the visitor is greeted with a rich view of this seemingly ancient-looking stone wall that contrasts with the bold modern form and a dramatic, double-height space that is bridged with a private journey to the master bedroom suite.
This owners’ exclusive suite is arranged as a flying structure – part of the house but separated and entirely private – with grandstand views of the scenery and golf course below. The arrival sequence is part of the richly choreographed experiences that can be unveiled for guests or left as secure and private for the residents only.
With very strong sustainable design credentials the house uses deep overhangs for shade, high thermal mass walls with heavily insulated enclosures and carefully designed natural ventilation for cooling the interior. Warmth is maintained by high performance double glazing capturing low winter sunshine, plus open fireplaces, solar panels and underfloor heating.
Rainwater is collected, and grey water recirculated for reuse wherever possible, low-energy lighting and appliances were installed.
This villa is designed to be a part of the landscape and to create a special relationship with its spectacular surroundings. Say the architects: ‘We wanted to maximise the potential enjoyment of this unique location.’