Speaking from his studio in Madrid, José Selgas talks about the ancient house at Los Rincones that he and his wife Lucía Cano have converted over the last few years. But upon showing the view of the surrounding gardens, it becomes clear what it all comes down to for the SelgasCano architect duo: ‘We prefer nature to architecture’, says Selgas. A vision that’s generally reflected in their use of light-weight materials and open spaces, focusing on the landscape and respecting local history. And that’s precisely what Los Rincones (‘the small corners’) reveals.
The plan was to keep the sixteenth-century structure of the house so far as possible intact and to use on-site materials to convert the spaces for new uses – for example, making bedrooms out of the old barns, where chickens once pecked and figs lay drying. Everything had to be specially designed for the place. ‘In every corner you feel the hand of the artisan.’
‘It was a challenge to find local builders who understood what we wanted’, Selgas says. ‘They said, why don’t you just build something new? Much easier and cheaper.’ But once a team had been established, there was a two-way exchange of ideas. ‘They learned from us and we from them’, Selgas grins, ‘One of them said, we should be paying you to work here!’
Read more in See All This #22.
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