Located on a remote hillside between the Urkiola natural park and the Urdaibai biosphere reserve, in the Basque Country, Spain, former Caserío Azkarraga is a long abandoned and ruined mid 19th century stone farmhouse that has been renovated/rebuilt by Babel Studio and Bonadona Arquitectura to accommodate three different uses related to each other.
The new sculptural construction, which stands out for the solutions for energy efficiency adopted, integrates the new La La Revelía restaurant, dedicated to regional cuisine and local products, the home of the chef and his family and accommodation used for an agrotourism business.
Building restrictions obliged to maintain the original footprint of the building, including the annex volume, but allowed substantial modifications in building height, façade openings and selection of materials. The two Spanish architectural firms were able to retain the lower portion of the original two-storey walls, which are incorporated into a new building arranged mostly on one level.
The more compact proportions of the new volume refer to the traditional farmhouses of the region, while the clear shapes, the unprecedented cuts, the niches and the façade set-backs, as well as the selection of materials, in chromatic contrast between them, distinguish it from the context.
The new building therefore presents itself as a contemporary architecture, with pure and minimal lines, the archetypal ones of a house, which integrates harmoniously with the historic local farmhouses and in continuity with the surrounding natural territory.
The original stone walls are now wrapped in a skin of black-stained timber. The facades incorporate openings with deep reveals lined with untreated pine that contrasts with the dark surfaces. The building's ground floor contains the residence and the restaurant, with the smaller first floor accommodating four guest suites and a lounge area for the agrotourism business.
The new project takes over the external structure and load transfer of the original building. Minimising the new structural elements, a single in situ concrete wall is introduced in the centre of the ground floor, containing the interior swimming pool basin. Besides its structural function, the central wall element organises the extensive program on ground floor, separating the uses of the residential unit from those of the restaurant, while providing access to agrotourism on the first floor.
A generous double-height open space accommodates the day area consisting open kitchen alongside a dining and a living area, three large-format openings with in-wall integrated sliding doors allow for a spatial continuity between the interior and exterior. The night area, consisting of master suite with bedroom, wardrobe and bathroom and two further single bedrooms, is situated in the attached volume. Each unit has direct access to the surrounding garden. As it was decided in the design process to maintain the attached volume legible as such, a terrace could be integrated on its flat roof, providing a spacious outside area to the first floor agrotourism.
In the centre of the ground floor is located a spa area with swimming pool and sauna, which, together with the structural concrete wall, acts as a hinge between the residential and restaurant uses.
In the restaurant, two additional large-sized openings in the southwest corner provide the fluid transition between the interior dining area and the encircling nature, where a vegetable garden is located for direct use by the restaurant. In contrast to the residential part, the interior of the restaurant is kept in dark shades the large openings framing the landscape like a canvas.
The restaurants kitchen is designed as an integrated part of the dining room, separated by a transparent enclosure of a custom steel/glass frame on a marble Nero Marquina base, making the preparation of the served dishes visible and part of the experience.
The constructive simplicity of the existing building served as a reference for the projected constructive solutions.
, all in the name of sustainability. The entire volume in fact uses renewable geothermal energy and uses a natural spring located inside the property for water supply.