Raúl Almenara

Nogal House . Ávila

Raúl Almenara . photos: © Juan Baraja

Conversion of an old rural orchard in a village in Ávila, into a contemporary designed home: Nogal is a single-family dwelling designed with the appearance of a giant rock, an enormous inert being that, nevertheless, houses life. This genuine concept develops under the shade and environment of an imposing walnut tree, the epicenter and soul of the project.

Search for inspiration. Of Persian origin, with deep roots, and dense and elongated shadows. With robust wood and majestic bearing. Probably the walnut tree is one of the trees whose presence cannot go unnoticed, it is one of the kings of nature. Its fruit (the walnut), its silhouette, and, in short, its marked characteristics make it a reference tree for its delicacy: it does not withstand strong frosts, nor very high temperatures, as well as a minimum of rainfall, must be guaranteed for its growth to be adequate and harmonious. This makes finding a walnut tree with these characteristics something truly exceptional.

In search of a close relationship with nature, and in an act of enhancing the value of this century-old walnut tree, a stony character home has been built, reminiscent of those rocks in the landscape, projected around this figure. Although we will see all the characteristics of the building, we can never speak of it without being aware of what the soul of the project is, in which nature and artifice, sustainability, art, and architecture are more intertwined than ever.

But this would not be the only element that would catch the attention of nature in the province of Ávila. In the early train trips to the town, a strong contrast was observed in the plains between a flatter and barren terrain and some granite rocks of quasi-human scale that supported themselves as sculptures on it.

En una pequeña localidad abulense se levanta esta vivienda construida con granito local en torno a un nogal centenario. Para respetar sus raíces y copa, la fachada adopta una forma curva. Este material pétreo ya estaba presente en la parcela, conformando un muro exterior que se ha conservado, el cual definía el perímetro de un huerto, y en un bebedero para animales que se ha introducido en el interior de la vivienda.
Incorporando elementos de la tradición constructiva vernácula como la cubierta inclinada, la casa consta únicamente de tres grandes huecos: el primero, una pieza de vidrio curvo que mira el nogal, ‘atravesada’ por una mesa continua que conecta interior y exterior; el segundo, una apertura frontal al paisaje con vistas a una vereda de trashumancia; y el tercero, que enmarca el cielo.