In 1951 the industrial engineer Eustaquio Ugalde buys a wooded plot on a hill facing the sea in Caldes d’Estrac, about 40 km from Barcelona. Sitting under a carob tree and enjoying its wonderful views over the Mediterranean horizon, he decides to build a holiday home in this idyllic spot that allows him to enjoy it and at the same time take charge of maintaining the landscape to its fullest in its original state.
The marriage Ugalde (1) entrusts the project to his friend José Antonio Coderch, who at that time is 38 years old and has already started to build some houses together with his partner Manuel Valls (2). This assignment will be key for Coderch because it will discover resources that will be used for the rest of his career, thus initiating a stage of maturity and recognition.
The privileged position of the land with its panoramic views over the sea, together with its topography and vegetation, are decisive for the project and the construction of the house. From the client’s indications and the meticulous study of the terrain “in situ” the first sketches and writings of the intentions are born. (3 y 4).
In the design phase, the order becomes a real obsession both for the client and for the architect himself. The notes on the views, on the geometry and the pre-existences of the terrain are complex and demanding. These give way to plans constantly modified and corrected until the last phases. (5 y 6).
The follow-up of the work under construction is key to making decisions about the form. Even corrections of elements already built are made. Once again, work from the field itself is decisive for the final result.
It chooses indigenous materials, typical of the popular Mediterranean architecture. In images captured by a helicopter (7) it is possible to check the natural state of the terrain, less leafy than at present, and the rudimentary construction systems used.
This Catalan constructive heritage is combined with more modern architectural forms. In the images of the work (8 a 11) one can also read the importance of the terraces as a continuity of the interior space, the organic and modern form of the pool and the strategic location of the guest pavilion.
The work of the house ends in 1952.
After spending time with his family as guests of the Ugalde, Coderch he decides to build a small house for him in a nearby land, although his economic availability does not allow him to go beyond the foundations. This work is completed by the Swiss architect William Dunkel for his own use, since he also vacations in the municipality. (12).