Some of the most inspiring architecture begins with a basic idea that is then transformed into innovative design. In the case of 360° House – a home that was designed to trace a 360 degree loop – the end result was revolutionary. Created by the Spanish firm Subarquitectura, the home is a unique interpretation of the geometry of architecture which tries to reshape our understanding of space in modern homes.
According to the team responsible for the project – Andrés Silanes, Fernando Valderrama and Carlos Bañón – the initial seedling of the idea for 360 House stemmed from a series of practical requests from the resident who commissioned the home, and the twin desire to create a house that was both beautiful and functional. “The aim of the shape is to respond to the many architectural inputs,” the team says. “To solve at the same time the problem of constructing a home on a slope, to take advantage of the beautiful mountain views that surround the perimeter, and to multiply the possibilities of use.”
When responding to these requirements, the Subarquitectura team says they considered a number of possibilities for the design, but that even they were surprised when they came up with the idea for a fully circular house. “The client only imposed on us formal restrictions… but the process of the project was drifting towards a continuous geometry and a curved, enclosed semi-outdoor courtyard, which resolved in a clear and compelling way all the requirements of the house… Finally we provided an unexpected solution to it – even for us at first – that exceeded their expectations.”
The team also says that in addition to satisfying the requirements of the client, the design also creates a unique experience for residents and guests of the home. “As a result of the helix-like shape, and by allowing travel in a smooth and continuous way thanks to an 8% slope along the walkways, it creates the sensation when using it that it is much bigger than it appears on the outside.” Another unique feature is evidenced in the dual entrances that bookmark the home, which allow the entire structure to be traversed from two separate directions. “We talk about the two different ways of living in that house, without necessarily separating them physically. We can walk through it in a long way, using the ramp that gives access to the private rooms, or we can use the ‘shortcut,’ by way of the stairs, that brings us directly to the living room.”
According to the team, they took great care so that even the potential downsides of their design were transformed into desirable features. For instance, towards the center of the home where it descends into the sloping earth, there is no opportunity for windows or an outside view. However, they instead take advantage of that isolation by placing a mediatheque in this portion of the house, which benefits from the lack of exposure to the outside world.
The team also recognizes that when working from a unique concept, such as the circular design that governs 360 House, it might be tempting to go overboard and lose sight of the original intention – to create a comfortable home. For that reason, they purposely strayed from the design in its purest sense in order to create a more practical home.
“The residence is guided by a continuous geometry, but we can identify three straight segments and two arches of circumference…. the straight sections allow a deep look, distant, and a contemplative landscape as a background scene.”
Ultimately, the Subarquitectura team says that 360 House reflects a broader philosophy to create inspired architecture that challenges more traditional design principles. “We could say that we are full of prejudices. Our look towards reality is voluntarily partial… In this metamorphosis process [of design], the project acquires an internal and external coherence, until reaching enough inertia as to take on its own life; which then feeds off of its proper requirements and necessities.
Images by David Frutos
Alex Levin is a writer for Granite Transformations, a remodeling company dedicated to advancing green remodeling practices by finding new ways to recycle and reduce waste such as making granite countertops that require less material to produce and can be installed without demolition.