Villa Stgilat Aiguablava / Enric Ruiz Geli / Cloud 9

Curated by Clara Ott

© Gregori Civera, Itot Produccions

Text description provided by the architects. The main aim of this project isn’t to design a villa, but to carry out a case study. Ruiz-Geli references architects such as Richard Neutra and Eames who helped to define this concept. In Los Angeles in the 1950s, Richard Neutra established a new form of construction with prefabricated parts and rapid manufacturing and assembly. This inspired a revolution, reducing costs and opening the market up to the middle class.

© Jordi Alcalà
Cortesía de Enric Ruiz Geli

Charles and Ray Eames introduced aluminium as a material into the production process of prefabricated parts. In a similar way, Stgilat Aiguablava represents a pilot housing project based on a ‘smart’ version of Mediterranean architecture. Leading-edge technology and digital and sustainable manufacturing integrated with the surrounding nature brings innovation to the Empordà valley and the Costa Brava, considering that the region’s landscape is an invaluable asset that provides cultural a backdrop.

The project’s client is a Central European family, passionate about Mediterranean culture and lifestyle, and whose priority was the quality of architecture and R+D+I (research, development and innovation) over luxury in order to achieve a space of well-being. With this in mind, Ruiz-Geli uses a holistic approach, presenting a style of architecture that evokes sensorial, corporal experiences on every level.

© Gregori Civera, Itot Produccions

The Catalan vault gives the main residence it’s structure – a large space, much like the Empordà farmhouses, that defines the house’s interior. The innovation is in the continuous sweep of the curve of the Catalan vault, a technique that has extraordinary advantages. The Catalan vault is made of a Mediterranean material that works in compression, providing the house with great thermal mass, protecting the interior from external heat, whilst enabling the house to retain heat in the winter. It is also a highly porous material, providing dwellers with superior natural breathing conditions. Lightweight and energy efficient arches have been designed using a minimal amount of materials.

The reinvention of the Catalan vault in this project has been done using advanced fibreglass engineering, while the challenge for artisan ceramist, Toni Cumella, has been to create ceramics for the vault that are in harmony with the surrounding nature.

© Gregori Civera, Itot Produccions

The vault’s external facade adds to the landscape by following the curves of the surrounding mountains. The green tones of the exterior ceramics are integrated with the natural colours of the surrounding area. Inside, a special type of ceramic has been designed to achieve acoustics of unbeatable quality.

© Gregori Civera, Itot Produccions


© Jordi Alcalà

The key to this project is its integration with the environment. Architect Enric Ruiz-Geli, born in Figueres, a small city in the middle of the Catalan Empordà, establishes a dialogue with the landscape, culture and materials of the region in order to shape the project.

The ceramics, the warm Mediterranean materials, the freshness, the sun and shade, the colours, the terraces and the curves of the coastline are elements that have inspired and conditioned the design of the Stgilat Aiguablava villa.

The property’s wild garden has preserved the existing trees and the swimming pool collects rainwater, filtering it with natural processes.

Geometria final – Planta e Fachada

In this dialogue with the environment, the project provides sustainable and innovative architecture and digital manufacturing, bringing value to the region and embodying Mediterranean culture and its way of life. The office has collaborated with the prestigious Pasadena Art Center College of Design to design an experimental pavilion adjacent to the home.

© Gregori Civera, Itot Produccions


ArchitectsEnric Ruiz Geli / Cloud 9
Location: Spain
PhotographsJordi AlcalàGregori Civera, Itot Produccions
Manufacturers: Ceràmica Cumella, R&B Composites, Vidres Berni


Available in: Accessed in: 04/23/2020.