From 1962, and over a period of 20 years, the Taller de Arquitectura designed and executed a series of unique buildings equipped with swimming pools, bars, restaurants, and sports facilities facing the Rock of Ifach. The Xanadú building is one of the first specific developments to come out of the Taller’s research in the field of housing that aimed to establish a methodology by which to create geometric elements in space. This building of 18 apartments was a prototype experiment in applying a methodology to RBTA’s theory of a garden city in space, and should be read as one of many large, interconnecting elements.
The building took the castle as its point of reference and evolved in such a way as to arrive at a configuration inspired by the nearby Rock of Ifach. Each housing unit is composed of three cubes corresponding to a living space, sleeping space, and service space. These three cubes are grouped around the vertical axis of a stairwell, which supports them. The cubes are then applied to the supporting circulation spine determined on an orthogonal grid, then broken down to satisfy the particular requirements of the program, which, in this case, involved shaded internal terraces to avoid the intense heat, hyperbolic roofs for better views, and adaptation to local building techniques. The geometry of the cube, the basis of the initial structure, was fractured on its exterior angles in order to create an irregular façade with a spectacular interplay of light and shadow and multiple views of the landscape.
No plans or elevations were drawn during construction, but each unit had its exterior walls pierced according to orientation, light requirements, kitchen extractor fans, ventilators, privacy concerns, and connection points. After model analysis the units were positioned diagrammatically on the engineer’s structural drawings.