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House for Three Sisters, Murcia, Spain

Highly commended in the ar+d Awards for Emerging Architecture this cluster of houses by Blancafort Reus Arquitectura exhibits a pared back approach to communal space

Three sisters, Irene, Minuca and María Ángeles, commissioned a house for themselves and their families on a rural site in Murcia, in south-west Spain. The outcome is not a single dwelling but a fluidly planned compound in which a trio of separate structures are arranged around a shared courtyard, garden, olive grove and orchard. Within this generous network of indoor and outdoor spaces, the three families and their friends can enjoy each other’s company, but there are also more private enclaves. The three master bedrooms, for instance, are at first-floor level, each with an enclosed terrace.

Clad in strips of pine, which will eventually weather to a silvery grey, the architecture is characterised by a rustic informality that responds to both the context and the slightly unorthodox programme. The jury was struck by the idea of three families living together and how the architects had succeeded in articulating individual territories within a more flexible armature of spaces designed to encourage an uplifting sense of interaction.

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The house sits in a rural landscape of olive groves and orchards. The rustic language of rough pine cladding and informal geometry responds to the bucolic context

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