Emilio Ambasz: Casa de Retiro Espiritual

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Dedicated entirely to the legendary Casa de Retiro Espiritual, this book accompanies the MoMA exhibition of Ambasz's award-winning project. Considered a minimalist idea for some and a deconstructionist fable for others, Emilio Ambasz's Casa de Retiro Espiritual in Spain is instead an unclassifiable statement about architectural essentials. Situated close to Seville, this vacation home reinterprets in a non-vernacular manner the prototype of the Andalusian house, with a central patio which all the rooms look out on, where the earth is also used as an insulation system against the heat of the sun. Seen from afar, the house disappears like an optical mirage, leaving a view on the horizon of only the two empty backdrops arranged at right angles resembling an open book. Designed in 1975, the house has won innumerable architectural awards including the Progressive Architecture First Award and an AIA award. It foretold of Ambasz's pioneering work seeking to reconcile architecture with nature. Faithful to his conviction that a building should return to the community in the form of garden, accessible to the community, all the land the building has covered, Ambasz's green buildings, integrating garden and building into one inseparable entity, have been the precursors of a whole movement towards an energy efficient architecture. The fully illustrated volume includes an essay by Peter Buchanan, over 60 stunning full-color photographs of the house and an interactive CD Rom including aerial views, exterior and interior shots taken in daylight and at night.