Every now and again we come across architecture that reminds us of the impact that groundbreaking design can have – and the Raumplan House is one such experience. Located on a sloping plot with views that take in Madrid’s western mountain range, the building begins to unfurl itself with landscape views and structure that are truly astonishing.
Designed by renowned Spanish architect Alberto Campo Baeza, the Raumplan House (or ‘Casa Raumplan’) takes its name from the spatial design theory developed by Adolf Loos. The design itself is a remarkable home that employs a distinct architectural approach to maximise light, circulation and connection throughout the home.
Instead of designing a building as a collection of seperate elements arranged on seperate floor plates (and so relying on whole-level vertical circulation to create flow), Raumplan splits spaces into different floor plate heights while maintaining visual continuity between spaces. It’s hard to explain without physical demonstration, but essentially it’s part of what forms the basis of a split-level home, but it is more specifically centred around the flow of movement and internal views.
In this home, the raumplan approach is impactful in creating space based on a limited ground plan. The design takes the 12 x 12m ground plan and divides it to four 6x6m squares, following a pattern to raise the ground planes, square by square, in a cork-screw like pattern. The spaces are all double height and intersect with each other as the design flows upward.
With this approach, the design of the home spirals upward with sprawling open spaces to enjoy. The concentration of the double spaces going up on a 90 degree angle enable each square to add to the corkscrew flow, framing each ‘room’ of the home while highlighting certain areas of the design based on natural light, time of day and orientation. The more public parts of the house will be at the upper levels to frame and enjoy the stunning views of Madrid, while other spaces in the design face inward, defining areas to withdraw from the surrounds.