Carlos Pérez-Carracedo López’s passion, commitment and unwavering belief in this concept, spanned six years from an idea to tangible realization – A concept that stood firm through trial and error before culminating in the actualization of the ‘true’ sustainable home in Javea, Spain. In fact Carlos and Native Life are pioneering this very concept – and are first to do so in the Mediterranean. Situated in Pinosol, Jávea and surrounded on all sides by blackened trees from the recent devastation caused by forest fires. Carlos relayed with a mix of personal sadness and relief, how the house had remained completely untouched throughout before formally introducing us to what Carlos describes as…”His baby.”
“The concept grew not from the ground up, but rather, from the roof down,” Carlos (pictured left) explained. Working closely with World renowned architect Salvador Perez Arroyo (pictured below) in Vietnam 2010, the aptly named ‘Cloud’ concept first took shape in the form of a membrane that would replace typical rooftop structures as we know it.
Salvador Perez Arroyo is not only a world renowned architect, but a true visionary. Salvador won the National Award for Best Architect in Vietnam two consecutive years running, and has received countless accolades and awards at National Level. The Asturias Prize for Architecture, the Annual Architecture prize of the City of Madrid, and The National Architecture prize of the CEOE, to name a few.
Salvador is also a member of the Bartlet Architectural School of London alongside colleagues such as the prolific Norman Foster and the recently deceased, Iraqi born-British Architect, Dame Zaha Hadid DBE.
From the ‘meeting of minds’ in 2010, a fascinating journey of discovery began, and the ‘Cloud’ as clouds naturally do, drifted in another direction and took on a completely new form – with the initial concept remaining fully intact.
By 2014, from this stand-alone concept – the building work began. By 2016, the 300 sqm awe-inspiring semi-underground structure of natural ecological rawness, precision and exquisite detail – arrived on the ‘premium property’ market. Here we have a design which at its very core, enables earth’s natural elements to co-exist beautifully and seamlessly with our own natural and modern day habitual ones. The term ‘impressive’ used here, would be an under-stated one.
In Spain, and typically throughout the Mediterranean, we are witnessing modern construction exchange the typical stone wall for glass more and more – a design which is flooding the new-build property market place. Such homes are also more often than not, south-facing structures. The concept behind this type of home, and the use of glass in this way, is based on the assumption that natural light flows generously throughout the home and assists in generating warmth – not to mention the benefits gained by the stunning views that Mediterranean home buyers are looking for.
There is absolutely no disputing this modern-day ‘glass wall’ concept of design – however, the design alone, albeit stunning to look at, defeats several extremely important elements of climatic importance that is contradictory to the perceived benefits this type of design is ultimately trying to achieve. An integral element that was not overlooked by the architects, visionaries and designers involved when embarking on the ‘cloud’ concept project. In fact, this aspect had a far deeper significance to them than one of simply design. The message they hoped to convey took a giant leap into the realms of cross-cultural taboos combined with the way in which our ancestors lived and built their homes.
- Structures were built WITH & AROUND the earth and not fighting against it. Small houses were sunk into the earth and were made of natural stone.
- These structures, including the gardens and planting also required zero maintenance.
- Eliminating maintenance saves energy, time and money – houses that need maintenance cannot and should not be called sustainable.
DR Constructores & Jose Luis Maldonado Dasit understood perfectly the complexity of the project and concept. This understanding is reflected in the incredible work and dedication seen throughout this entire project.
Below is the study conducted to produce the natural green environment used for the exterior landscape, which translates the reason why they did not use plants that had not already been present for centuries and thoroughly used to the weather conditions – paying close attention to those that also arrive from abroad. For example, the palm trees from Egypt with the red picudo which almost single-handedly wiped out all of the palm trees across the Mediterranean. By using the type of plants shown below – they avoided such problems, including the need for maintenance and water.
One of earth’s most natural and durable products is rock, a foundation that our structures depend on. Stone and concrete are resilient materials that do not require maintenance or treatments such as painting to protect them. In fact nature’s own elements have this all figured out in advance. This sustainable home is…
- Sustainable right from the moment of construction.
- The exterior can be extremely hot yet the interior will remain at a comfortable 24c day and night. This eliminates the need for AC units and heating in the home.
- Stone v Glass – The stone absorbs the heat of the day and releases it slowly into the interior during the night. Glass however, absorbs the heat and forces it into the interior of the home at the point of contact. But when the sun is no longer present, the glass cools at a rapid speed and can no longer sustain the energy – therefore the night time temperature of the home drops, requiring the need for additional heating.
- Floating interior wood flooring – A 10cm deep (from ground to flooring) space acts as a built in circulatory system which allows for natural and constant air-flow, which in turn eliminates humidity which leads to damp. A problem that is notoriously found in homes throughout Spain and many other warm climates.
- Self-draining outdoor flooring – Stone tiles with a 0.5cm open edge space between each tile, allows rain to fall through to the earth below and drain away naturally. This in turn feeds and waters the natural foliage that surrounds the home. The slight variation (or tilt) of the structure also ensures that the water runs down, through and away from the property.
- Plants and Shrubbery – (Described above) Self-sufficient and sturdy plants such as Rosemary are used in all of the outside areas filling the house, garden and patios with natural scents and the feeling of the outdoors – indoors.
- The land and earth that surrounds the property protects and moderates the temperature throughout the year – which works in perfect synchronization with the rock that forms the main structure.
The structure although new, is hard to believe as so. On seeing this for the first time, you would be hard pushed to imagine this was not constructed using huge slabs of centuries old rock.
It is the next highly impressive element and ‘attention to detail’ that allows this property the well earned WOW factor it so rightly deserves.
“The new concept of architecture is to take new materials and make them old.”
Carlos explained how certain bacteria can be found in aged rock, however purchasing rock in this form would prove incredibly difficult and expensive, meaning Carlos and his team had to find another more sustainable and cost-effective solution.
Lactobacillus bulgaricus and Streptococcus thermophilus, are natural cultural bacteria’s found in live yogurt – the same active bacteria that penetrates rock to form a natural and protective barrier. So instead of waiting years for the rock that Carlos envisioned would build his sustainable home – through dedication to the project and a little research, Carlos along with his team were able to find an alternative solution, while still remaining true to their vision.
A six month wait for the yogurt to work its wonders, ended with stone reminiscent of, and sufficient to that of stone weathered for close to 100 years. That combined with ‘rust’ which was added to a concrete mix, completed the monumentally high structure of the exterior walls, which shone like brushed gold in the afternoon sun.
The Concept above was the general design idea and the first serious drawing produced for the concept they wanted to build back in 2010.
- There are no visible windows on the structure – not in the way we normally understand windows to be.
- The glass used – (huge sliding doors leading onto zen-like gardens) are all ‘technically’ underground. Floor to ceiling glass is also present in the bathrooms, where the taboo subject of nudity is evident, and again re-addresses the message of returning to nature in our natural and UN-inhibited state, and how we have lost this area of freedom in our lives.
- The entire living space is flooded with natural light – but is indirect and sub level light so you get not only the sense, but actualization of being one at all times, with nature.
- The ample kitchen island and bathroom basins are crafted from a cutting-edge material called ‘Kryon’ which resembles porcelain. Kryon is an ultra-white ecological material that is warm to the touch and similar to natural stone. It is made with two-thirds natural minerals and is highly resistant to fire, is without pores and anti-bacterial without using any type of additive.
- Kryon is extremely hard-wearing, and requires minimum maintenance. The material is cut in a similar way to wood, allowing for curved sections, and can even be injected during the production process, making it possible to create different designs that are impossible to achieve with other materials. Seamless sections prevent liquids from being absorbed, making cleaning and maintenance incredibly easy.
“When discussing quality – there should be absolutely no compromise. Why would anyone build an incredible home only to use inferior products? It makes no sense. To me, it is like… wearing an Armani suit with a pair of slippers.”
~ Carlos Lopez-Carracedo Perez
As we head up the expansive stone steps that lead from the patio toward the rooftop, we relish in the breathtaking views across Xabia and the Montgo standing proudly in the distance, before reaching our final destination.
- The rooftop pool with integrated Jacuzzi – The steel pool Carlos tells us, like the sea, reflects the light of the sky. Each day you will witness a different colour. The steel is much softer than traditional ceramic tiles; therefore you will experience floating in a whole new way. There is also a roof space for air just as there is with the flooring, under the pool. This is again to allow ‘for breathing,’ but also serves as insulation inside the house. Air is known to be the best form of insulation – simply because the molecules are further apart, they ‘collide’ and share energy less often.
We end where this journey began – with the ‘cloud’ concept itself.
After several failed attempts and expense trying to construct the original cloud design, Carlos and his team eventually came across a fabric that turned out to be, not only a stroke of visionary genius in its own right, but aesthetically pleasing to the eye, and functional in ways that leave you lost for words.
The roof top ‘cloud’ (example pictured above) – Produced by Austrian Company Soliday is suspended from pully-operated masts (snap-systems) which open horizontally across the entire structure, and transform just as the sails of a luxury super yacht would – an experience to behold in itself. The sails can be raised and lowered to shield from the midday sun, while automatic sensors via an ‘Intelligent system,’ detect shade, sun and even an increase in wind speed.
As we were leaving the property, Carlos took a moment to show off the incredible artwork that adorned the entrance to the house (pictured below) which was created by World Renowned Sculptor Toni Mari. Toni’s work is recognizable all over the world and his iron work sculptures can be seen along the length of the Costa Blanca – including the town of Jávea.
This pioneering sustainable home concept is one of many Carlos and Native Life are hoping to build across the Mediterranean, bringing this incredible accomplishment forward as the future of living in a TRULY sustainable fashion.
Our habitual surroundings should be enjoyed in a way that lives and breathes in perfect harmony with our lives. When we surround ourselves with living breathing materials, the senses awaken and align to the energy they emit. The energy in this home is unmistakable. You feel it and sense it at all times. I believe, once we understand the true balance of nature, we will understand the true balance of life and living itself.
“With pioneers such as these – the possibilities ‘TRULY’ are… endless.”
Jose Luis Maldonad – Tel: 637 304 025
Mail : firstname.lastname@example.org
Web : drconstructores.com
*The price for this property is €950.000,00
For more information, contact: Carlos Pérez-Carracedo López