This is an addition to a house designed by Hans many years earlier. It had a modern floorplan but some traditional Spanish elements such as the roof. It also had a large garden, some of which was used for this 100 square metre, self-contained 2-bedroom addition.

The aim was to give the main house and the addition their own privacy. The addition is like a pool pavilion, a retreat, rather than a family house. It consists of two elements: a timber-clad box containing two bedrooms with their en suites, and a white-painted concrete wrap-around shell which faces the pool on one side (containing the living area and kitchenette) and a screen-walled bamboo garden on the other side. The bedrooms look on to a ‘secret garden’, making them places of retreat, with the whole ensemble of space well-lit and enjoying generous cross-ventilation.

The way the two elements slide like a kit of parts into easy engagement highlights the principle that the architectural expression should embody the construction and erection systems. Hence, the way all the parts come together is celebrated by considered design and exposure. This includes the frank conversation between materials – the Iroko-clad box, the Spanish limestone flooring, the 2.8 metre-high, double-glazed sliding glass doors and white plaster finishes.

Although the design was simple, construction proved difficult and it took five years and four contractors to build. The problem was building within a craft-based vernacular tradition, where the local contractors were used to building Spanish haciendas. The result was a disjunction between what was drawn and what got built. Regardless of the frustration, however, the project demonstrated the value of persistence and perseverance in achieving a successful outcome.