A-cero - Santander House


Santander House

A-cero, have recently received great press and interest in their Dubai Tower project, but they also produce fantastic, single family, residential designs. In fact it was difficult to choose a project to lead with! Here is their Santander house.
The house is located on a skewed rectangular plot, with a gradient of around 1 in 3 and covering 2,204m2. The plot is bordered on the south by the access road, to the north and east by other properties and the west by a pedestrian pathway.

The focus of the design was to maximise views of the river Miera to the South. The slope of the ground, usually problematic in construction, became an asset allowing them to set the house into the hillside. With a natural barrier at the rear, the front of the house opens up to the views and Southern sun. The project evolves, embracing the surroundings via a set of 3 very simple rectangular volumes, a large longitudinal central core from which two others protrude, angled slightly to the west and setting sun, one at ground level and the second, housing the master bedroom upstairs.

At the other end of this volume, downstairs (1m lower) is the garage, laundry, pantry and storage. Between these two is the intersection with the forward facing wing, which contains 2 bathrooms, kitchen, office and games room that opens out onto the patio. Upstairs are 2 kids bedrooms and a bathroom. The second volume extending out into the bay is the master bedroom with its en-suite and walk in wardrobe. The en-suite has its own low level landscape window, allowing views out across the bay and the master bedroom features a huge inclined picture window for enjoying the views whilst dry. The layout allows for all the main living areas to receive direct sunlight while separating the living areas from the sleeping quarters upstairs.

The interior was laid out open plan, in a very functional manner, divided at the intersections of the volumes. The main horizontal volume contains to the east: the staircase connecting the two floors, the living room, dining room and a small library with home cinema. These rooms, although open plan, are partitioned by white hanging walls to waist height, yet with their narrow profile the room appears open plan from outdoors.

Outside, landscaping is minimal yet stylish, with under bench lighting and lineal concrete forms framing the various areas. As the landscape rolls across the plot it creates natural courtyards on the ground level and a convenient second floor exit from the kids wing balcony.

The building has been covered with a skin of Naturvex (fibreboard cement panelling) in anthracite gray and raw concrete. An interesting choice that really accentuates the crisp lines of the structure, with the large spec panels and dimensions giving it a feeling of established solidity. In contrast, the oblique cut to the front of the master bedroom, places the property ahead in today's modern residential design.

More fantastic designs and 360 degree graphics of their houses can be found at

Location: Santander, Cantabria (Spain)
Built surface: 483,52 m2
Date built: Mar 2006

via: A-cero Estudio de arquitectura y urbanismo Many thanks to Ignacio and Carmen

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