López Rivera Arquitectes: Two Cork Houses - best architects 19 in gold

López Rivera Arquitectes

Two Cork Houses

best architects 19 in gold

single family homes


Llafranc Palafrugell / Spain


José Hevia / Juande Jarillo


The houses are on a plot densely populated by tall, slender pines, cork trees, and holm oaks located in Palafrugell, a part of the Costa Brava where cork was formerly produced. The houses emerge from an uneven and steep terrain that has been modified as little as possible. Permeable gravel pavements have been introduced and the existing vegetation has been preserved and enhanced with new Mediterranean plantings, giving the impression of a place hardly changed after the intervention. Between the houses, a shared outdoor space of arrival and encounter serves the three generations of a family. 


The structural base is in concrete and supports the cross-laminated timber structure above (produced in the Basque Country). All is clad on the outside with two layers of insulating cork. Inside, the structural wood is left exposed, resulting in an atmosphere that is closer to the surrounding woodland than to the sea five hundred meters away.  


Intimate in scale, the indoor spaces are linked to one another without passageways in a sequence of rooms of varying size. Their uses are defined by their relationship to the outside, be it the distant view of the sea, the vision of the tops of the pines, or direct access to the terrain. The main floor of the larger house is extended via a free-standing sandblasted concrete canopy which forms two ample terraces — suspended among the pines — with views of the sea and the coastal mountain range.