Regina House by OAB

Uncover the artistic mastery of the Regina House, a minimalist home tucked away in the enchanting village of Vilopriu, Spain. This unique dwelling serves as both a home and an exhibition space for its creative inhabitants, industrial designer Pete Sans and painter Regina Saura. Crafted by the renowned architects at OAB, the Regina House is a testament to efficient design, imbued with artistic charisma and connected intimately with the local landscape.

Incorporating a collection of Sans’ sculptures and adorned with Saura’s vibrant murals, the house is a living testament to their artistic vision. The Regina House is more than just a building – it’s a vibrant canvas celebrating the avant-garde spirit of its illustrious occupants.

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About Regina House

Designing a Haven for Renowned Artists: The Journey

Constructing the new home for Pete Sans, a renowned industrial designer and surrealist artist, and Regina Saura, an accomplished painter and mural artist, in the quaint village of Gaüses, Alt Empordà, was much more than a professional undertaking for me. It presented a unique opportunity to design and construct a dwelling for dear friends who I am deeply connected with, both culturally and artistically.

Pete Sans: Continuing a Legacy of Artistic Excellence

As the son of the 1930s surrealist painter Jaume Sans, a prominent member of the avant-garde ADLAN group, Pete Sans has contributed to the world of design with creations like the Lamparaprima, the Mesita table, and the Coqueta chair. The latter earned him the prestigious ADI-FAD Golden Delta in 1988.

Over the years, Sans has curated an extensive collection of sculptures that have found their rightful home in this new house. These include a cat-bench that guards the porch, a grasshopper on the patio, and metal spiders in the swimming pool, along with other smaller sculptures sprinkled throughout the residence.

Regina Saura: A Visionary Painter and Mural Artist

Regina Saura is a painter who has spent the last few years alternating between working in San Francisco and Empordà. She has showcased her work in exhibitions across various countries. From her early beginnings in the eighties, utilizing collage techniques, to her recent works inspired by Japanese themes and her experiments with performance and large-format murals focusing on nature, particularly forests, Saura has crafted iconic pieces like the mural on the facade of the industrial building owned by Cocina Hermanos Torres, a creation of Carlos and Borja Ferrater. Pete Sans also lent his design expertise to the lamps inside the building.

In addition to her paintings, which decorate the interior of the house, Regina has left her artistic mark on the home’s most prominent facade with a signature naturalist motif.

The House: A Harmonious Blend of Design and Location

Nestled on a long, narrow plot sandwiched between neighboring lots, the house descends from the eastern end of Gaüses’ main street to a torrent along its western boundary. Guided by the site’s topography, the orientation, and a desire for privacy, the design consists of 12.5 x 5 meter (approximately 41 x 16.4 feet) pavilions separated by voids or courtyards. These pavilions house the living areas, while the voids offer access, cross-ventilation, and illumination to the interiors.

The house stands as a testament to simplicity and efficiency, its form expressed in the materiality of its finishes. It features inclined ceilings constructed with concrete and steel semi-beams, ceramic tongue and groove that adds insulation, and Arab roof tiles mandated by local regulations. Complementing these elements are walls of white stuccoed blocks and polished concrete floors.

The exterior boasts a garden adorned with native species, reflecting the local landscape. It also includes a small swimming pool and a movable pergola, both designed by Pete Sans.

The Result: A Personalized, Cost-effective Sanctuary

In the end, this construction—an unpretentious, austere building costing less than €1,000/m2 (approximately $93/sq ft)—has offered its inhabitants the freedom to personalize their new house, making it truly their own. This project reflects the confluence of an efficient design, a deep understanding of the artists’ personalities, and a respect for the local environment, resulting in a sanctuary that is not only aesthetically pleasing but also cost-effective.

Conclusion: Marrying Art, Architecture, and Personal Touch

The design journey of this house signifies more than just the creation of a living space. It marks the harmonious blend of two artistic souls and their personal styles with architecture, resulting in a space that is as much a testament to their craft as it is a home. In this context, the house stands as an icon, a tribute to its inhabitants’ artistic prowess, and an embodiment of thoughtful, culturally sensitive design.

Photography by Joan Guillamat

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- by Matt Watts