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The deeply strange "1001 Nights" house by architects A-Cero


October 28, 2011

"1001 Nights" private dwelling by architects A-Cero

"1001 Nights" private dwelling by architects A-Cero

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Madrid-based A-Cero architects are a big deal in Spain with public and residential projects across the country plus South America and the Middle East. Lead architect and principal Joaquin Torres is bit of a celebrity and recently appeared on Spanish TV's equivalent of "The Secret Millionaire" (giving away money of course, not receiving it). Unashamedly modernist, the A-Cero house style generally involves sweeping curved gestures in gleaming white. With the latest residential project however, Joaquin seems to have embraced the dark side and produced a dwelling of such stunning brutality and "otherness" that it could easily be an alien fortress on a distant planet. We love it. It's also one of the few buildings that actually looks good illuminated by multi-colored LEDs.

The architect's own description is disappointingly prosaic:

"It is a single family house located in a development in the outskirts of Madrid. Over a plot of 7000 square meters (75.000 sq.ft.) the building, with 2100 square meters (22,000 sq.ft.), rises with a high standard design answering the owners' requirements.

The access, through the development walkway, is placed on a higher level. Here is the property, partially hidden by many curved walls that seem to elevate from some water sheets over a stone covering in white, grey and black shades, placed on purpose as a part of the landscape in this area of the plot. Besides its sculptural features, typical of the A-cero style, this side of the facade expects the integration of the building in the surrounding environment. A wide stone path, with water sheets on both sides, lead us to a huge black glass door that gives us access inside the property. In the garden, following the wishes of the owners, there are palms, pome granate trees and Middle East vegetation.

The rear facade of the house, the most visible, makes the most of the slight slope of the plot, where there is the porch, a pool and the garden. Almost all the views from the different rooms of the property are focused here, as the views of the lakes in the common areas of the development.

All the building is dressed in "black villar granite stone". In this part of the property big windows, with hidden woodwork, are opened, achieving a lot of light for the inside space. In the porch, the window in the main living room, of 10 meters, is automatically hidden, connecting indoors and outdoors.

The surrounding walkway is made of white marble, the tiling in the pool of blue gressite. The outside furniture is from the Rest collection by A-cero"

The rear of the building is a little bland, dealing as it must with the earthly pursuits of sunbathing, swimming and barbecues but the front is a triumph of juxtaposed leaning angles and curved barricades. The "hockey stick" curves are an A-Cero trademark but whereas tall and extended in blinding white marble they look like an homage to 60s Brasilia, truncated and in black they resemble nothing as much as tank traps.

The "1001 Nights" project title and the oasis at the front of the building suggest that the very lucky owner is of Arabic descent. Perhaps in its setting at dusk there is a hint of the silhouette of a desert citadel - but one surely from the mind of a science fiction writer. Fantastic.

About the Author
Vincent Rice Vincent Rice has been an audio-visual design consultant for almost 30 years including six years with Warner Brothers Cinemas. He has designed several large retail installations in London and a dozen major nightclubs across the world from Belfast to Brno to Beruit. An accomplished musician and 3D computer graphics artist, Vince also writes for AV Magazine in the U.K. and the Loudscreen digital signage blog. All articles by Vincent Rice

Ia, ia! Cthulhu has returned as a trendy yuppie! I didn\'t know he had a mobile home!

Jim Parker

No self-respecting alien would be seen dead in this monstrosity. A cross between a skate park and a public urinal.


These look like blast deflection walls- would propably appeal to someone with lots of enemies...


Agree Adrien. It looks like a concrete skateboard park lit up by some LEDs from a Honda Civic. All it needs now is a 3 inch exhaust.


I have no doubt that we\'ll see this exterior in some science fiction movie or TV show sometime in the near future.


hideous. Yet more proof that money can\'t buy you taste.


It is telling that there are no interior shots

Ned Baldwin

having seen the kitch and greyness that is US conformist style, I am not surprised by your comments...


Ya sure couldn\'t get away with buildin nothin like that here in Idaho. I do like them pretty colored lights.


22,000 sq.ft SINGLE-family house? Are you kidding me? Why doesn\'t anyone have a problem with THAT?

Alisa May


That\'s what it puts me in mind of.

Think I\'d feel more comfortable with a chain gun walking around there...


re; Alisa May

Because every society/government that starts deciding how much home, money, food an individual can possess ends up killing significant percentages of their own population.


god, the above comments can be so nasty and tactless. Don't like it, fine but don't present yourself as a douchebag when delivering your opinion. Good grief.

Facebook User

i would have to back my car up to the door, so i don't have that long ass walk to get in every time i come home. also seems like a lot of wasted cement.

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