The Sphinx

Cairo, Egypt
Fran Silvestre Arquitectos

Located a short distance from the Mediterranean, this spectacularly minimalist yet luxurious house by Fran Silvestre Arquitectos is configured over two levels that allows views from the upper part of the structure. A single line less than 30 cm thick seeks to synthesise the traditional representation that symbolises the Egyptian god of wisdom. The vertical element, with a variable section, allows the communication core to be housed while maintaining the expressiveness of the project.

Part of the The Sphinx house is completely cantilevered, emerging from a vertical wall, which looks a bit precarious. Jib cantilevers always require a solution to its two fundamental parts: the cantilever body itself, visible and apparent; and the vertical body or mast, from which the first starts. The cantilever body needs to be light. It is solved with a triangulated steel structure. In this way, it can be built at ground level, with maximum precision and using precambers, to be finally hoisted into position once the wall-mast is finished. To improve balance, the counterweight of the opposite cantilever with additional mass in reinforced concrete is used.

The fundamental challenge is the vertical body, which hides the core of vertical communications. That core is responsible for ensuring the necessary rigidity and resistance so that the aloft house can emerge as a cantilever. In turn, the rest of the house balances the overturning moment of the vertical part.

The lower part of the house contains the entire programme, except the master bedroom, which is located on the upper level, as an almost independent house.

We have also always been fascinated by the ability to synthesise the classical tradition in the works of Andreu Alfaro, with his accurately materialised kuroi. We pursued this attitude to materialise the house. A project that seeks to synthesise part of the tradition of the place with a materialisation that represents a constructive innovation.

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