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1. Story of Houses 2. Epilepsy 3.Villa NURBS 4.Villa Bio 5. Micro Architecture 6. Villa Bio’s Project 7. Most Interesting Conversation 8. Bibliography 9. Manifesto

STORIES OF HOUSES Casa Blas, Alberto Campo Baeza Can Lis, Jorn Utzon House in Lèges, A. Lacaton and J.P. Vassal

The Blas House was the complicity between the client a professor of literature and the architect Alberto Campo Baeza with a mutual cultural understanding forged a house where music is heard with silence. Built on a hill southwest of Madrid, Sevilla la Nueva, offers views to the north, with the mountains of El Escorial. Being so high and far away from the neighboring houses, it leaves a lot of space for the enjoyment of the landscape in the distant horizon.

The Client brought a poetry book of Luis Cernuda to the first meeting as the reading material. The popular poem Cernuda ÂŤDonde habite el olvidoÂť (1932-33), describes a world where one leaves aside all their problems and to achieve the desired freedom. Undoubtedly, Francisco de Blas wanted something more than a house. In its new home the emotions and thoughts should be considered as part of the construction material. As he explains Campo Baeza, the house refers to the argument of the cave to go opposite the hut where dream.

Campo Baeza decided to divide the house into two parts. The main volume of the house is a concrete housing program with a clear outline as the ground level. This massive volume connects to the environment through views of the landscape, the mountains of El Escorial, framed by a square opening in the walls. The lookout platform on the upper level where one is literally absorbed

by the power of the environment forms a contrasts with the qualities of the transparent structures to the basement. Inside, nothing interrupts the visual communication between the audience and nature. This duality extreme topdown, inside-out, glass, concrete, nature-safe, is a dramatic discourse of opposites that determines the physical character of the building.

House in Lège is located on the coast of France. They had a task to preserve old pine trees that grows on site and do not disturb the landscape in any ways. We chose this house, because it blends in with nature and has fantastic view. The nature is a key element in this house, the location was chosen because of it. Building this house, didn’t cause any harm to the landscape, because it was built around the trees and the soil wasn’t disturbed. The house was lifted up from the ground and resembles a tree house. Having the house higher, means that the view becomes even more spectacular.

The architects used galvanized steel and concrete for their structure. Steel structure was fixed onto pile foundation and this type of construction make the house look light and the space underneath the house makes it look like a big tree house. The aluminium sheeting reflects the

sky and the water and there are pine trees growing through the house and therefore the house blends in with the environment. The house has been built in 1998, but, because of the ecological idea behind it, seems up-to-date and timeless. The sustainable ideas of this house should

be used as an example how to respect the nature and landscape. The house has similarities with Can Lis and Blas House, in a way that all of the houses are built around the nature, the house itself isn’t the main focus, it’s the landscape that surrounds it.

Can Lis was designed in 1972 by Jorn Utzon, the architect of the Sidney Opera House. Built in Mallorca, the house is seen as the house of Light, the house as an incredible view over the Mediterranean sea and the trees surrounding it. Each rooms has its purpose according to the sun light.

Placed among a clift, the house in integrated in nature using the local stone and playing with the existing nature ( green ). Can Lis was designed according to the sun. It is composed by several pavillions wich are differently oriented to allows each room to have natural light.Each space has fixed furniture to define its purpose. Everyting in this house is working with nature. The windows frames are fixed in the outside of the wall to not ruin the amazing view on the sea. Can Lis is about peace and being in harmony with nature.


Epilepsy is the 4th more common neurological disorder - only migraine, stroke and alzheimer’s disease occurs more frequently. It is characterized by a long-term risk of recurrent seizures. These seizures may present in several ways, however, 60% of cases are convulsive seizure.

Girl’s testimony

The causes could be both genetic or acquired, such as : serious brain trauma, stroke, tumors, brain infections. In 60% cases the cause

is unknown.

Girl’s testimony

Management : -Daily medications -Avoid bright light, blinking lights, light contrast -Regular sleep rhythm -High-fast, low carbohydrate diet

Girl’s testimony

People tend to isolate themselves because they fear to have a seizure, especially outside their homes. It could happen to any of us, but the disease should not stop anyone from doing what they want to do.

WHAT IS EPILEPSY ? Epilepsy is one of the most common serious neurological disorders affecting about 22 million people as of 2013. It affects 1% of the population by age 20 and 3% of the population by age 75. 80% of those with the disorder are in the developing world. However, epilepsy could develop at any person of any age. Epilepsy is characterized by a long-term risk of recurrent seizures. A seizure is a disruption of the electrical communication between neurons. Du-

ring a seizure, a person’s muscles tighten and relax rapidly or stop moving completely. Seizures start suddenly, and people who have them cannot control their muscles while they are having a seizure. Depending on in which part of the brain a seizure is happening, a person’s behavior may change in different ways. If too many brain cells are sending disrupted signals at the same time, it causes an overload, and a person may pass out and shake all over - have a seizure.

The frequency of the seizures varies from only once in a few years or as frequently as every day. Someone is said to have epilepsy if they experience two or more unprovoked seizures at least 24 hours apart. These seizures may present in several ways depending on the part of the brain involved and the person’s age. 60% of cases are convulsive seizures. People tend to isolate themselves because of fear of a seizure.


The causes could be both genetic and acquired; chemical disbalance or an injury. Injuries - high fever, birth trauma, alcohol, strokes and tumor (mostly in older age). In 60% cases the cause is unknown.

WHAT CAUSES A SEIZURE ? Seizure triggers: Missed medication — is the most common cause of an unexpected seizure. Lights — while it’s not as common as many people believe, flashing or flickering lights caused by sunlight, strobes, video games or computer screens can cause seizures in some people with epilepsy. This is known as photosensitivity. Brain disorders — people with certain brain conditions, such as tuberous

sclerosis, cerebral palsy, mental retardation, autism and neurofibromatosis may be more likely to have seizures. Lifestyle/habits, such as not getting enough sleep and drug or alcohol abuse Hormone change — some girls find that their seizures become more frequent when they go through puberty or at certain points in their menstrual cycle. Foods — even though there is no scientific proof, some foods seem to influence seizures and it

is best to avoid foods that seem to increase the chance of a sezure. Studies have shown that the ketogenic diet, if strictly followed, can help control seizures. Other possible seizure triggers can include bold, high-contrast patterns such as a zebra’s stripes, stress or anxiety, and certain mental processes such as reading or math.


The Villa NURBS or Non-Uniform Rational Bezier Spline was designed by Enric Ruiz-Geli. The beginnings were not promising: some restaurateur friends of Ruiz-Geli’s mother wanted a new house.

Located in Empruriabrava in Gerona, Spain, it is a futuristic house where melting ice blocks were used as model. There is nothing standard, the whole house is made-to-measure.

Organized around a central pool, the house has no corners but a seamless flow. It is a tensile structure, that uses new technologies ( 6 patents ). It has a heavy concrete base but it gets lighter as it rises towards a roof of ETFE ( lighter alternative to glass ) pillows. These employ a system of opening and closing layers that insulate the interior.

The skin, comparable to a fish skin, is reactive and manages energies and privacy. The mixture of ceramics and plastics try to optimize the surface and structure, which is important for the temperature regulation inside the house. The wavelike ceramic plates decorate the facade and

protect against strong solar radiation.The complex geometry is stable but adaptable, and the completion of Villa Nurbs expresses all Ruiz-Geli’s aim to optimize building resources and to harmonize nature with technology. The energy-saving roof consists of inflatable plastic bubbles.


The Villa Bio stands out amongst the Mediterranean-style homes in Llers, Spain. While it was first met with controversy, the completed Villa Bio reflects the nature of the local landscape much more intimately than its neighbors. That nature does not end at the corner of its plot, but continues on to the home’s hydroponic garden that snakes along its green roof. Architect Enric Ruiz-Geli has masterfully designed a home with a seamless connection with the Mediterranean environment, an organically-inspired structure with a lush, productive green roof.

The house is organized in a U shape with three floors. The two principle levels are connected by the living room which create a continuous path. The first floor being the garage wich is placed under the ground.


The house is made of 50cm thick concrete walls wich acts as the structure of the house while other walls are made of glass. These huge windows provides light to the entire house.


People, who have epilepsy, describe the seizure as a “tornado in your head”. And after the seizure people feel weird, “not themselves” and that feeling of disconnection lasts from a few days to a few weeks. This is something that a person cannot control. Having no control is scary and discouraging. On the other hand, having no control is relaxing in a way - stop fighting, stop trying, stop stress, if only for a second. Losing control means one accepts the situation as it is. It does not mean one has

to agree or disagree with it. But if you want to change something, you have to accept it first. Having epilepsy and having a seizure is not pleasant in any ways, but as there is nothing anyone can do about it - accepting and letting go is essential. And it is ok to not be in control. Having no control could be careless and fun. Being a child is a good example - children live in the moment, they do not plan, stress, worry. A playground is a house of worship.

Therefore, our group came up with an idea of swings as a representation of having “no control” in the best way. Once you go down with swings, you lose control - even for a moment. And it might be scary, but that’s the fun in it. Swings can appear everywhere - playground, park, forest, yard, bus stop, university. And adults are allowed to lose control here, even if for a second. This swing can also be used in different positions.



The family we chose is composed by a mother, a father and one child. Stephanie is a writer and she works from home. Her husband, Oscar, is a head of construction company. Their child Connor is 5 years old and he has been recently, diagnosed with epilepsy. He has frequent seizures which happens almost every day. The family strictly follows ketogenic diet, and to follow any diet means that home cooked meal is very important.

The main strategy of adapting the Villa Bio to a child with epilepsy is to make the daily routine of eating dinner, going to the bathroom or just walking through the house as much fun as possible.

For this project, we kept following the idea of a playground as in our micro architecture. We want to make the house as fun as possible for the child but as he is not going to be 5 years old forever, our concept is to create a house that will grow with him, providing furnitures or spaces that will change according to what he needs. For that, we took inspiration from some existing furnitures created by designers.



As we also have to think about the parents, what we will create has to be usable for them but will help to develop the imagination of the child for exemple.

The idea was to create, at first, furniture that can be develop as the child is growing up.

eating with his parents, as we can see on the drawing. But when he is ÂŤtoo oldÂť to play that game, this secret path When he is a kid, Connor can be tranformed in a can see it as a play- desk. ground, a fun way to go


Kitchen 19,48 m2

Storage 2,90 m2

Bathroom 3,96 m2

Common Area 12,32 m2

Bathroom 5,47 m2

Child Room 12,85 m2

Circulation Area 33,61 m2

Living/ Dining Area 22,50 m2

Child Play Area 8,87 m2

As we can see on the floor plan, the child’s bedroom is separated from the parents bedroom ( one being on the ground level and the second on the first level ). The reason for that is on one hand, to create independance

Bathroom/ Dresser 8,82 m2

Parents 16,11 m2

in the child as his parents won’t be with him for the rest of his life. On the other hand, parents needs space. They need to have their own space away from the disorder and to spend time as a couple.

The house has a slide/corridor that goes around the house and connects all floors and basement. The corridor starts and ends at a child’s bedroom, although there are multiple entrances to it (basement, parents’ bedroom, “soft room” next to the living room). The corridor starts with the stairs up to the part next to parent’s living room. Not to disturb the privacy the wall between the corridor and the bedroom is made from mirrored glass. That way

it also serves as a window from the bedroom. The corridor continues round the corner, follows the shape of the house and at the connection with the “soft room” goes down to the basement as slides. Continuing in the basement the corridor starts to slightly go up under the kitchen and eventually ends up in a child’s bedroom. The slide/corridor has some fun activities installed for the kid. A part of the corridor on the top floor would be made of a net.

One of the features for our proposal is to change the material of the ramps. The smooth and cold concrete will be replaced by half cut round wood pannels on the floor. This creates on one side a new and warm area of the floor and let the inhaitants experinces a new surface appearance. As a special for the kid, going down the ramps on toy cars is a lot of fun.



When we were introduced to the assign- Therefore we saw these positive aspects ment, our first thoughts was that we need of the disease: to ensure the safety in the house. - You learn how to accept yourself the way you are During microarchitecture task, we had to First, you have epilepsy and you will have learn how to see positive in the disease. it for the rest of your life, and it is OK. We focused on the fact, that people, who Second, you learn how to accept yourself have epilepsy, describe the seizure as a the way you are as a whole. “tornado in your head”. And after the - You take care of yourself better seizure people feel weird, “not themsel- - You learn to trust other people ves” and that disconnection from themselves feeling lasts from a few days to a few weeks.

We focused on control a lot. To us it meant control your body -> control your mind. However, this was not a very positive side of the disorder and we had to move on. Then we spinned it around and having no control became a positive aspect. From this point the focus was on losing control. When we had to implement the changes in the house based on losing control, we came up with multiple little ideas, but our house was still the same house. After a lot of research, looking for inspiration, we came up with the idea of corridor/tunnel/ slides that connects the whole house. It is a shortcut and a playground in one.

After coming up with our idea, it was a challenge to implement it in the house. As the house was already quite narrow, we didn’t want the corridor to take a lot of space. But eventually only the main hallway would have to be smaller as the bathrooms and other small rooms had to be moved a little bit. Living room and the kitchen could stay the same size as the corridor went under it. And as we wanted to keep the privacy of the parents, but also didn’t want to block the light, we came up with a mirrored glass idea.


ArchDaily (2010) Villa bio / Enric Ruiz Geli. Available at: 2017).




Blas home - architecture of the world (2000) Available at: (Accessed: 10 January 2017). Blas house in Sevilla la Nueva (Madrid), by Alberto Campo Baeza (no date) Available at: (Accessed: 10 January 2017). Can Lis and can Feliz in Mallorca, by Jørn Utzon (no date) Available at: html (Accessed: 12 January 2017). Enric Ruiz-Geli (2002) Available at: (Accessed: 12 January 2017).

House in Lège, by Anne Lacaton and Jean Philippe vassal (no date) Available at: (Accessed: 12 January 2017). mfreeman (2014) What is epilepsy? Available at: (Accessed: 12 January 2017). Wadu and profile, V. my complete (2012) Villa Nurbs. Available at: (Accessed: 7 January 2017). Work in progress (no date) Available at: (Accessed: 7 January 2017). (No Date) Available at: h t t p : / / w w w. e n v i r o n m e n t - e c o l o g y. c o m / e n v i r o n m e n t - a n d - a r c h i t e c ture/223-green-roof-design-10-stunning-sustainable-works-of-architecture.pdf (Accessed: 12 January 2017).


What did I learn this semester ? The answer is : A LOT. I think this is why I was completely lost this semester. I was wondering, what are they expecting from us ? From me ? I had to understand once more what is architecture. Many people would think architecture has the same meaning everywhere, in each country but for me, I can tell the difference between what I have learned, how in Reunion Island and in Alicante. Everybody has its own definition of what is architecture. The subject can be the same but by the approach, the actual project will be different.

cro architecture according to the disorder we chose, it was difficult. I had to think differently in order to make something different from what I usually design. This exercise made me question myself a lot about what is architecture. It completely shook up the knowledge that I thought was acquired. We also had to share our way of thinking, how we see things and personal thoughts. I had to put more of myself into the project, aspects that I consider really personal which I felt uncomfortable doing it at the beginning, specially with people that I don’t know. But that is how we can be proud of a project. When I put a lot a effort and persoTherefore, in Alicante, the first thing I nal thoughts in it. have learned is to think differently, to try But we went beyond that, and this is soto understand things differently. mething else I have learned. When we first got the project of doing mi-

I learned to go beyond my limits. In the way of thinking specially. This semester, I discovered a different kind of architecture, more conceptual and maybe a little bit abstract in the way of doing it. At first, it felt completely wrong and difficult because I felt I was rejecting what I have already learned in my school. But the more we talked with my professor and my group mates, the more I understood that I was only adding experiences. Working on the positive side of what we think is negative helped me a lot with it. I have learned to see people these people as actual human and not as a disorder. Even if this project was a struggle at the beginning because none of us ( our group ) were used to think that way but mainly because we had difficulties to understand each other due to the difference of

culture. Therefore, I learned to work in a group with several cultures and habits. I could discover their cultures, how they are used to work and think about a project. It was new and interesting as well to have to explain what I thought was logic for me but not for them. It made me want to understand more how they see things, how differently everybody sees. At the beginning I remember that we were doing the same thing on the project and then realized that it meant something completely different for each of us. This semester was for me, throughout this project, a all of new experiences that made me grow either in my way of thinking, in the way I see things but also

in the way I act. I consider myself lucky because I was able to experience that thanks to the people I met and the project we created. It was also the opportunity to discover new houses and architects, how they came up with the idea, the concept of their house.

Manisfesto Project 4 - Carole Garilli  
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