Sierra House
by Steyn Studio


As the name alludes, this house adopted its nickname from its distinct roof profile. ‘Sierra’ meaning both ‘saw’ and ‘mountain range’ in Spanish. A fortunate coincidence as the house is located between Madrid’s north-westerly neighbourhoods of Mirasierra (look at mountain) and Montecarmelo (Mount Carmel).
The shape of the roof is a result of internal spatial requirements. Due to height restrictions, the roof slopes could not peak in the middle. As it coincides with a bathroom below, we decided to invert the peak and use the space to hide the machinery and solar panels.
Local planning rules are very prescriptive in terms of how much can be built, which has resulted in similar townhouse typologies in the immediate neighbourhood, with some minor material variances.
These challenges, and the narrow 6,5m wide site were taken onboard. Most was made to increase the perceived internal scale of the house by maximising ceiling heights where most appreciated and extending the depth of the plan along the linear nature of the site by means of avoiding solid traversal features. Zones are defined with level changes, height changes and screens. The upper bedroom volumes are conceived as a house within a house, which in turn also contributed to the house’s distinct roof shape and its formal definitions overall. These features set this individual house apart from the neighbouring developer driven properties.
As a townhouse it claims its own space between exposed boarded concrete feature walls, cradling a monolithic ‘carved’ travertine block. These two contrasting yet complementary materials references some of the materials already nearby, and is also representative of is locality on the edge of Madrid where the urban city (concrete jungle) meets nature (mountains and stone).
The interior of the house takes it cues from the outside with a limited, balanced, neutral and warm palette.

Architects: Coetzee Steyn, Steyn Studio
Collaborator (Spain): Pedro Lopez Quintas
Technical Architect: Roberto Rapino Carmona, Arnaiz
Structure: Elías Martínez Alegria, A6 Ingenieria
Installations: Juan Carlos Fernández García, A6 Ingenieria y Salvador Agramunt Nogues, Zetus
Location: Madrid, Spain.
Client: Private
Year: 2018
Area: 268m²
Photography: Imagen Subliminal (Miguel de Guzmçan + Rocío Romero)

Architects: Steyn Studio

+44 (0) 20 3239 0228
+44 (0) 79 3080 8586
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155 Commercial Street
London E1 6BJ

+34 675389330

Steyn Studio, UK

Steyn Studio is a multi-award-winning UK practice that has recently become known for the Bosjes Chapel project in South Africa, which has been published extensively and has received various accolades.
It was established by Coetzee Steyn in 2011, after working for several years in large commercial practices on residential schemes of various scales. Originally from South Africa, were he started his studies, he obtained his professional qualifications in the UK where he is now a member of the Royal Institute of British Architects and registered with the Architects Registration Board.

The studio itself is collaborative in nature, works at various scales and typologies and looks for inspiration beyond the realm of architecture itself. It is constantly seeking for narrative and poetry which is evident in some of its most recent work yet to be published.