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Editor'S Choice - 2020

Solo Houses: designer villas in a forest in Matarraña

Architecture and nature embrace in Teruel.

The TNA studio villa © Solo Houses

The drivers of the project Only houses They had a clear idea: Art and architecture can be born from the union of architecture and landscape. And so it has been. Located on the edge of Natural Park of Ports, in Matarraña (Teruel), this spectacular creation can boast of being the first architecture collection in Europe.

Parisian gallery owners Eva Albarrán and Christian Bourdais They have been dedicated to their two great passions for more than fifteen years: architecture and contemporary art. In 2004, they founded Eva Albarrán & Co, which is currently one of the three largest producers of contemporary art in France.

Later, in 2012, they launched their big bet, Solo Houses, and in 2018 they opened their first gallery in Madrid.

Didier Faustino for Solo Houses © Solo Houses

This initiative promises to immerse us in a unique experience through its fifteen villas and a hotel -the centerpiece of the project-, completely mimicked the environment.

Each of the homes has a unique design, fruit of the collaboration of twelve of the most innovative architecture studios in the world, whom the gallery owners who devised Only houses They gave absolute freedom to prepare their proposals.

Combining architectural jewels, works of art and trails traced in harmony with the beauty of Natural Park of Los Puertos de BeceitIt has been the key to the success of Solo Houses, a work - still in development - carried out in collaboration with the Chilean architect Smiljan Radic (hotel designer), the renowned art director Han Ulrich Obrist (in charge of the cultural program) and the landscape designer Bas Smets.

On the other hand, from May 24, the Solo Houses Summer Group Show, the first edition of an annual exhibition that it will last six months, during which national and international artists, with nature as a stage, present projects that They challenge the perception of space.

This event aims to break the limits of exhibiting in a conventional gallery, experimenting with the spectacular natural environment of Matarraña.

We can find works by land art as, for example, the huge fuchsia mass, titled Kissing the void (2012)by Ugo Rondinone Or creations as avant-garde as Animitas (2014) by Christian Boltanski, who has drawn his own sound landscape with five hundred japanese bells suspended from thin metal rods.

Kissing the void (2012) by Ugo Rondinone © Solo Houses

For its part Hector Zamora offers in Truth Always Appears as Something Veiled (2017) a new perception between the hidden and the open. Inspired by an ancient drawing discovered in Warm (Turkey), the artist has created a brick maze drilled in Matarraña.

The rest of the artists who have left their creative seal in these Aragonese lands are Iván Argote, Barozzi Veiga, Peter Downsbrough, Olivier Mosset, Fernando Sánchez Castillo and Pezo Von Ellrichshausen.

Detail of the Office KGDVS villa © Solo Houses


Cross the borders that arise when raising walls, integrating the landscape into the work and the work in the landscape, has been the purpose of the architects who have been part of the project Only houses, and a clear example of this is the circular house of the studio Office KGDVS, which goes almost unnoticed.

Raffle the room with views? Here that problem has no place, because each One of the rooms is a window open to the forest. In addition, in the courtyard, located in the heart of the property, they have created a pool that will finish conquering the residents.

But this construction has nothing to envy to the creation of Mauricio Pezo and Sofia Von Ellrichshausen, a wonderful viewpoint over the nature reserve. This residence, built as a platform to give your visitors the feeling of be suspended in the air, also has a patio with pool in the center of the house.

The work of the Japanese architect Go Hasegawa © Solo Houses

Yes, Japanese architect Go Hasegawa the prize is taken to one of the most impressive designs: a space merged with the forest and wrapped by the cliff, with a pool that adapts to the terrain's orography. And at his feet, the river. Wonderful!

As if it were a giant mushroom, the elevated circular construction of Johnston Marklee it rises shyly over the plain, in line with the trees that surround it. Its large windows allow you to enjoy some Inspiring sunset views.

And if the guest feels like a dip, just go down the stairs of the house to get to your private pool.

The Acropolis of Barrozzi Veiga © Solo Houses

Originality comes alive in the village of japanese architect Fujimoto: rough wood and an irregular fabric that recreate a forest. Protected and open to the environment, this geometric work has a terrace at the top That will become your favorite refuge. “Moving around the house is like climbing a tree”, says the architect.

Although a strong competitor is the creation of Didier Faustino, an irregular structure that seems to have been thrown from the sky over the Natural Park of Los Puertos de Beceite. The Infinite House, as it has been baptized by its architect, It represents the center of the Big Bang, absorbing and returning the light That penetrates her.

The geometric forest of Fujimoto © Solo Houses

One of our favorites? The one of the Japanese architecture studio TNA, an imposing inverted concrete pyramid that has sunk its tip in the ground. The light takes hold of each of its interior spaces, of which you will only want to leave to Cool off in your beautiful pool.

A small acropolis on top of a hill, the work of Barozzi Veiga, which hides a cozy home under its structure; four “T” shaped blocks in an olive grove of the New York study MOS Architects; a structure that plays with the undulations of the study SO-IL; wave Greenhouse of the experimental architect Jean Pascal-Flavien -which reinterprets the concept of sexuality playing with the water connections of the house, where we find "shower showers" - are some of the remaining works.

To discover each of the villas and be aware of the new additions, visit the website of Only houses. Or better, set course for Matarraña.

We escaped? © Solo Houses

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