Where an elongated plane of green grass meets the blue surface of water lying in stillness, the sky is captured within four corners of massive white walls. It’s then spliced and collaged by geometric fluctuations of the walls themselves, imitating the urban elevations. The conflicting desire of gaining a luxurious tranquility in the midst of Valencia’s metropolitan congestion is achieved through the design response of Pati Blau House by Fran Silvestre Arquitectos. Although these polars of opposition might pose a disadvantage to architectural makings, the designers use them to their advantage with a vision of futurist aesthetics.
With a narrow property, the design takes on the common typology of a tube house that's often seen in city dwellings. In contrast, the built space is sacrificed for a generous area of hidden courtyard. The white walls wrap around this inner space like a protective layer, masking its exposed privacy as an enclosed territory. As the walls continue their run across the perimeter, it transforms into a part of the main monolithic volume.
Inside Pati Blau House, the overflowing exterior becomes the central point. Its extension negotiates the inside and outside so that the border is non-existent. Here, the floor becomes cladded with glossy white tiles, reflecting running strips of light that further elongate the space. Embracing these lights are plain walls—free of extraneous decorations—looking like pillars holding up the entire structure. Hidden behind these devisions are circulation paths that connect the common area and the upper floor.
Where the ground floor is completely open to accommodate public activities, the upper floor, by contrast, is a complex layout that entices intimacy. Bedrooms are distributed around a staircase; each with large openings for direct light and views towards the encompassing garden and water body. These interactions can be seen as ways to bring in colours to the minimalist architecture, as the inner space is only speckled with black furniture.
With a familiarity to tube houses, this is a refreshing take on the typology. The intersection of negative and positive space is harmonised with no dominance, giving the inhabitants a heightened quality of life that’s lacked in contemporary urban houses. The twist that Fran Silvestre was able to conduct with Pati Blau House is clever in experiential aspects, yet the form is still a recognisable signature—a form that does not shy away from expansiveness and generosity.