Solar Orientation and Mediterranean Villa Design

The Grandfather Approach and Nuca

I thought you might be interested to read what Domingo Cardenas, our head architect, recently wrote to one of our clients. It gives you a great insight into how we work and who we are. I have corrected only the odd spelling so, apart from that, these are Domingo’s exact words.

He and our client are in the middle of a long discussion about orientation and layout and we are in the early stages of the design. I love the way he talks about creating different places for different moods. That is great architecture!

“I think that we, human beings as any other animal look for the best place to be comfortable at each moment not just of the year (seasons) but also at different moments of the day.

I’m amazed observing my dog (Nuca), she accommodates herself in the best place of the garden at each hour of the day. She instinctively looks for her best comfort. (Nuca is a Scottish Highland Terrier.)

I think we need to learn from the observation and study of nature and traditional Mediterranean houses the principles of how my grandfather use to build their houses in the country side, I used to listen my grandfather when he told me how he and his father decided to build his house in one of their vineyards it’s still there. It’s very poor construction, very simple but perfectly orientated to get a nice place to rest from the hard work in the shade in summer and under the sun protected from the northern wind in the winter.

I learned that from my grandad when I was a child, when later on in the university I studied bioclimatic architecture I couldn’t believe how close my grand dad was to those concepts just following the traditional way that his father followed.

Reading the comments that you and Maria wrote describing your house in Belgium, it reminds me the way that my grandfather use to speak. Every decision should follow a practical reason much farther than just the aesthetics, from the position of a terrace, up to the position and type of trees and plants to be planted.

Those decisions are not features to be showed on your web site and to be exposed as part of your great architecture, those decisions are enjoyed just experiencing the pleasure and comfort of living at a house, reading the newspaper at the breakfast table under the morning first sun light, reading a book enjoying the evening breeze with the beautiful views to admire when you stop your reading for a moment. Enjoy the fresh of your garden and pool having a glass of wine in a summer evening at your main terrace.

Those are the things that I try to achieve when designing my projects. Thats why I liked your way of thinking about your current house and your project when we met and reading your comments to the pictures you sent.

Let’s try to get different corners for each moment to be as much enjoyable as possible and avoiding becoming the house a nightmare of maintenance or technical problems.”