Developer: Private
Quantity surveyor: Jesús Osés
Facilities engineering: Inarq
Structure: Josep Agustí
Constructor: Dihor S.L.
Finalist COAVN 2019 Awards


AGL House is in the Ribera Alta region of Navarre, in an area of new development close to the fertile plain of the river Arga. The plot forms one end of an estate of single-family row houses with a small garden area at the front and another larger one at the rear.

The housing development is regulated by a series of urban planning conditions including alignment, separation from the street, maximum built depth, height and maximum built volume. The direct application of these conditions produces a predictable outcome.

However, rather than building to the full permitted extent, the clients were interested in a more restrained construction, enabling the project to propose a bespoke design that responds to the desired brief and takes full advantage of the conditions of the place.

Apart from the usual housing brief, the client wanted a large space that could be used as a garage and workshop, as well as accommodating other occasional uses. The two main spaces, the dwelling and the garage-workshop, are arranged around a courtyard that is seen as a subtraction from the maximum authorised volume, serving as the main entrance to the house and acting as a filter between the street and the back garden.

The house responds to the requirements of planning regulations, continuing the frontages of the rest of the street layout, but the reduced height of the garage-workshop volume marks the corner of the block and adapts to the scale of the side street.

The courtyard is the centre of the house, and all the main spaces open onto it. Its chief feature is a large freestanding fireplace and chimney, built to house a future outdoor cooking area and make the most of the many fine days in this region.

The sequence leading across the courtyard, to the house and to the back garden, begins by opening the large sliding gates that allow differing configurations according to the desired degree of privacy.

The house is characterised by a restrained range of materials, the variability offered by the sliding gates, and the expressiveness of the shadows cast by blinds and shade structures. Inside, the structural system is visible, giving form to the various spaces that are communicated by floor-to-ceiling sliding doors that ensure greater continuity.