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Cubo de Rubik. Poles designed an unusual house in Spain

Dobrawa Bies
20 of April '22
Technical data
Name: Casa - Cubo de Rubik
Location: Spain
Studio: Machoń Architekci
Design team: Tomasz Machoń, Jan Machoń, Dominika Spyrka
Usable area: 342 m²
Cubic capacity: 1404 m³


  • design:
  • implementation:



Architects from {tag:pracownie} took on the challenge of designing an unusual single-family home in Spain. Their white Cubo de Rubik, as the name suggests, was inspired by a Rubik's cube and broken into different zones, and part of the designed building has slanted walls. The façade made of trapezoidal metal sheets, a garden on one of the flat roofs and a tree growing in the middle of the living room add to its character.

Dom pokryty jest blachą

The white of the facade contrasts with the muted green of the surroundings

© Machoń Architekci

Designed for a development in Spain, the residential house is based on a 3×3 modular grid, with a module of 485 cm. The main idea of the architects was to very clearly divide the building into individual zones: the main, open daily zone located on the first floor level, the private (night) zone, the work zone and the guest zone. Each of the zones is located in a separate building block.

Dom Cubo de Rubik

The house was inspired by a Rubik's cube

© Machoń Architects

interview with Jan Machoń

Dobrawa Bies: The house we are discussing is being designed in Spain. How did the warm climate affect the form of the building? Were you able to afford more design freedom?

Jan Machon: Actually, this is one of the advantages of designing in a milder climate. I'm not saying that the issues of thermal bridging or energy efficiency were ignored in the design, but certainly the shaping of the architecture was freer. Frost itself does not play as important a role as it does in our climate, while the problem of cooling the building arises. Large glazing on the south side will not be something as desirable as in our domestic designs. Fortunately, we found a golden mean, and the plot itself allowed us to shape view openings to sides of the world with less exposure to sunlight.

Cubo de Rubik, rzut parteru Dom w Hiszpanii rzut pierwszego piętra

The first floor is the open living area, and the floors are the private zone

© Machoń Architekci

Dobrawa: The project contains many unusual elements - from the layout of the blocks, through their distinctive white facade, the garden on the roof, and the tree planted in the interior. Please tell us about the solutions used.

Jan Machoń: The layout of the solids is the result of some "play" with the space. One of the guidelines was that the building should be atypical, "sculpted", and the individual zones should give a sense of comfort and isolation. We had to juxtapose this with the requirement that the living area be communal. Due to the fact that the form itself contributes a lot, it is strongly differentiated, not entirely orthogonal(part of the building has sloping walls) we relied on color neutrality and unification of facade materials.

Architekci zastosowali blachę trapezową na elewacji

Part of the house's walls are slanted and are emphasized by bending lines of sheet metal

© Machoń Architekci

We used trapezoidal sheet metal. This is a rather underrated material in shaping architecture. Because the bending lines of the sheet metal give rhythm and direction to each plane, it allowed us to further emphasize the slant of the walls, which deviate from the vertical. So to speak, we enhanced this effect. The sheet metal also does a good job of preventing water from penetrating into the depths of the ventilated facade, which is sloped. Since the climate is quite dry, the colors of the surroundings differ from ours. In Spain, summer is not as rich in intense greenery as in Poland, so we introduced greenery inside, in the form of a tree and a small lawn in a square pot. The greenery inside the house is meant to contrast with the austere browns, beiges and faded greens of the natural vegetation outside. The main body of the first floor is covered in a sizable part by a flat roof, so we decided to use this space for a small garden. This makes the house fit better into the landscape.

Casa de Rubik

The view openings are directed towards the side with less exposure to sunlight

© Machoń Architekci

Dobrawa: The Cubo de Rubik project is not only architecture, but also interior design, how do you work on such a holistic concept?

Jan Machoń: It seems to me that in the case of this project it would be difficult to break it down into separate studies. Here, in a sense, the interior strongly influences the solid and vice versa the solid on the interior. The very assumption that a tree is to grow in the middle of the living room forces us to think in parallel about shaping the solid and the interior. For us architects, this is the most desirable form of cooperation with the client. When designing any building, we also think about how its interior will be shaped. We need to anticipate interior issues already at the stage of conceptual design, at least in the basic scope of ergonomics and aesthetics.

Pośrodku salonu rośne drzewo

A tree is to be planted in the middle of the living room

© Machoń Architekci

Projects like this one, where in parallel we can show the client on visualization what is being created, are much better (both for us and the investor). In our studio we also design gardens. Many times we draw up a project comprehensively: body/building, interior, garden. This allows for maximum consistency of these spaces. Even before the house is built, the client is able to virtually "walk" through the property, view it from the outside, and also evaluate the garden space.

Dobrawa: Thank you for the interview.

interviewed: Dobrawa Bies

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