With his design for the Atrium House, 36-year-old architect Fran Silvestre takes a fresh look at 20th-century Modernist formulas, from the courtyard houses of Mies van der Rohe of the 1920s and '30s to the Case Study Houses in Los Angeles of the 1950s and '60s. In the process, he offers nods to 'lvaro Siza, for whom he worked for two years (2001'03), and Eduardo Souto de Moura, who spent five years in Siza's office. The house'located outside Valencia, Spain'wraps around two sides of a sprawling white Ibiza-marble terrace (the 'atrium' of its name), with Leylandii-cypress hedges serving as a contrasting natural enclosure on its other two sides and completing the courtyard.
The layout of the house can be taken in at a glance: a continuous wall of floor-to-ceiling glass reveals a 57-foot- long wing for the living area on one side and a bedroom wing on the other. 'My strategy was to free the largest possible area for the pleasure of a private outdoor space with limitless height and volume,' Silvestre explains. 'I see the house and its site as a continuum.'