ORIGINAL PROJECT 1977
With a minimum program this small house is located in Sorauren, a hamlet close to Pamplona where the Valley of Ezkabarte fins its origin, close to those of Olabe and Ultzama so characterized by the great personality of their vernacular architecture. Thus, the house rises on a slope close to the old town and faces a pronounced V-shape valley formed by the nearest hills.
This project gave us occasion to reflect not only on the formation laws of this small towns and their relation with paths, orientation or landscape; but also on the adaptation of their houses to the terrain, so typical of that land. Some symbolic characteristics of the mythical rural house in the Basque Country are therefore added: just think in the baserri and its decisive influence in the surrounding landscape, which – not considering recurring folk topics – presents the dialectical relationship between architecture and place almost in a Palladian way.
These reflections together with the proposed program - a week-end home – lead us to conceive the house as a votive offering, as a Greek treasure, with a decidedly monumental image which in spite of its small dimensions was able to have its own meaning when confronting the landscape and the small but powerful architectures that surround it. This was achieved. During its construction villagers nicknamed it the hermitage. The composition is based on simple architectural elements ordered in a logic way, explaining its own construction.
The exterior stairway, willingly monumental, the stone pilasters that flank it and the triangular truss of its roof are precisely the elements that - with their differentiated scale – contribute to give visual strength and expressivity to this small house.
EXTENSION PROJECT 1982
Six years after the construction of the Iribarren house an extension that almost doubled its surface was proposed by its owners. This unexpected return to the crime scene - Sorauren revisted – was for us architects the suggestive opportunity to confront our own work and also to stablish a critical and distant reflection on the evolution of our own architectural thinking in those years.
The singular composition of this small week-end house together with its strong character and formal autonomy, imposed total respect to it as a fixed part inherited by the new extension that had to confront it. In such a way, the system now adopted was that of a composition by parts clearly differentiated where the house remained as the key element, understood as the corpo padronale in Palladian villas.
The extension is disposed following the scarce availability of terrain in this small plot, as it was the compositive background to the central volume, as a longitudinal pavilion perpendicular to the existing house and situated on the higher part of the slope. Its image, transparent towards the garden and the valley, is built through a rhythmical gallery of square pilasters, similar to a Stoa or an Orangerie.
The new Greek-like symmetry of the ensemble is determined by a pergola, a small tribune or belvedere that marks the new entrance to the house. It is also evident in this house the assimilation of our earlier experience proposing the reconstruction of the Laurentine Villa of Pliny by invitation of the Institut Français d’Architecture (IFA) and the consequent study of the relationship between architecture and garden.
The materials: white stuccoed brick walls, capitals, bases and plinth made of Calatorao limestone and wooden trusses and beams for the roofing.