F or many nature lovers, the ultimate dream is to bring sunshine and the beach home. The avant garde ‘Jellyfish House’ constructed by the Dutch architect firm Wiel Arets Architects has turned the dream into a reality.
by Coco Shen (translated from Chinese)
W ith the long stretches of coastline and sun all year round, the southern Spanish city of Marbella is renowned as a world-class seaside resort. Every year, countless tourists flock to Marbella to spend their holidays soaking up the sun, and many even find a home in the area. Not far from the Mediterranean coast are holiday houses in various shapes and styles, each laying claim to the best views by overlooking the lush Sierra Blanca Mountain, golden beaches with fine sands, and clear blue ocean water. The unique Jellyfish House by Dutch design office Wiel Arets Architects is one of these private residences. Every part has been designed exclusively to custom specification, with the result that the Jellyfish House has taken 16 years to complete, but it was worth the wait.
As if living by the seaside is not enough, with the help of Wiel Arets team, the owner of the Jellyfish House takes part of the ocean and brings it home. The 60-ton swimming pool on the rooftop is undeniably the most eye-catching feature of the house. However, the overall shape of the house does not resemble a jellyfish, as its name would suggest. The pool is made up of 6cm-thick glass walls and this unique material makes it possible for people to admire the pool inside and outside of the house. The infinity pool provides the opportunity to sunbathe whilst looking over neighboring houses towards the Mediterranean Sea. The rooftop pool projects out over a semi-enclosed courtyard where the sun sends ripples of iridescent turquoise reflections down from the pool to create a truly magical and relaxing area.
The house’s structure is composed of poured-in-place white concrete, supported by one column at the right-rear edge of its pool, and several smaller columns near the rear dining terrace. All non-concrete walls were constructed with glazing, which allows sunlight to permeate the house: “The concrete is white, which better reflects the southern sun, ensuring that the house does not absorb the sun’s heat and instead deflects it,” said the Wiel Arets team. A large amount of glass is used all around the house. Through the kitchen, corridor, terrace and staircases, the view is broad. The rear wall of the pool features a large interior window, allowing residents in the first-floor kitchen to look out at friends and family taking a swim. Another indoor window creates a view through from the kitchen to a living room below the pool, where glass walls slide back to open the space out to the elements.
It is said the “ever-present Spanish sun” lasts for around 320 days in Marbella, however, when it does occasionally rain, how comfortable is the house to live in? The Wiel Arets team explained: “The house is completely sealed off from the exterior elements in all areas of living (i.e. bedrooms, bathrooms, living rooms, etc.), and only the staircases are open to the exterior elements, but are also roofed, so that water does not enter the stairwells, though if it does this is ok, as a small stripe of pebbles abuts the edges of each staircase’s landings, under which there is a drain for excess water.” The stairs are divided into slow and fast routes, which gives residents a choice in how they wish to move around the house. The gently inclined slow route spans the length of the house, connecting the three floors with the roof terrace while the fast stairs give direct access to the roof from the exterior of the house.
The Jellyfish House’s semi-see-through and open structure lets the owner enjoy everything nature has to offer, while with exquisite design, their privacy is also closely guarded. Taking this into consideration, the five bedrooms are spread around the ground floor and the first floor of the Jellyfish House, and there is an exclusive terrace attached to the guesthouse for the guests to use separately.
Taking full advantage of the stunning views, the Jellyfish House also contains some up-to-date technology. Wiel Arets associated nature with modern technology: besides the two stairs through the house, an elevator from the kitchen goes directly to the rooftop swimming pool, making food and drinks easy to access for the owners. Other modern facilities include a sauna and steam room, and countless Bose speakers are installed within the ceilings and walls for surround-sound music. The combination of nature and technology makes for an easy and comfortable lifestyle.