Camino de Playa by Jamie Fobert Architects and Dominique Gagnon

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Location: Galicia,  Spain

Area: 140 m2

Camino de Playa








Images Courtesy of Camino de Playa

Architects: Jamie Fobert Architects and Dominique Gagnon

Local Architect: Marta Gutierrez Mosquera Arquitecto

Photography: Ciro Frank Schiappa and Mike Redfern

The Costa da Vela Nature Reserve in Galicia sits on the very edge of Europe. Here, untamed, sparsely inhabited land meets the wild Atlantic with long stretches of beautiful white beaches. In 2004, on one of the sandy paths which wind down through the pine trees to the sea, Jamie Fobert and Dominique Gagnon came across a long-abandoned house. Entranced by their chance discovery, they undertook 12 years of negotiation, purchase, design, planning and construction to transform the ruin into a comfortable rural bolthole.

From the path, the house looks much the same as it ever did: strong walls built of chunky, irregular granite blocks. But concealed behind the original walls, excavated into the rock is a 155m2 four-bedroom house and courtyard.

At the top of the sloping site, existing pines have been shaped and weighted to create a natural parasol, complemented by native olive trees, cork oaks and flowering succulents. An infinity pool cascades down one wall of the new courtyard below. An irregular stone stair steps down to the house; it feels ancient—part of the rocky landscape.

With a large chestnut dining table, comfortable seating area and an outdoor kitchen, the courtyard is the first room of the house, with the sky for a roof. The local granite forms the walls and floor, complemented by honey-toned chestnut and Corten steel elements. From the courtyard, three large Corten shutters slide away to reveal three frame-free slots into the main house.

The interior is simply detailed, revealing the building’s construction. The granite walls and chestnut ceiling are exposed. In the kitchen, a vernacular barrel-vaulted ceiling has been made out of handmade terracotta tiles. Each bedroom has its own shower and WC, making the house comfortable for a large number of guests.

An adjacent small building—originally acquired for its potential for storage—has been transformed into a second little house, containing its own kitchen, shower room and a mezzanine sleeping level. The little house is materially consistent with the main house, with exposed granite, bespoke chestnut joinery and Corten shutters.

Jamie Fobert Architects


Images Courtesy of Jamie Fobert Architects

Jamie Fobert Architects


Director: Jamie Fobert

Associates: Andreia Costa, Matthew Whittaker, Oliver Bindloss, Tom Clark

Studio: Charlie Duzdabanian, Chris Dove, Jack Bailey, Joana Gonçalves, Lydia Liu, Robert Partridge, Rodrigo Dominguez

Practice Manager: Benna Schellhorn

Studio Co-ordinator: Laura Sweeney

Since its inception in 1996, Jamie Fobert Architects has had a reputation for innovative and inspiring architectural design in the residential, arts and retail sectors. The practice has demonstrated a consistent approach to resolving client ambitions and site complexities into a tactile architecture of volume, material and light.

Jamie Fobert Architects has garnered several awards, including the Manser Medal, the RIBA and English Heritage ‘Award for a building in an historic context’ and the BD Individual House Architect of the Year Award. The practice has won three major public commissions for cultural organisations: Kettle’s Yard Gallery; the Charleston Trust; and Tate St Ives, all of which are currently on-site.

Read more here


Jamie Fobert Architects

Rochelle School, Arnold Circus

London E2 7ES



T 020 7553 6560

VISIT Jamie Fobert Architects


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