Completed in 1963, La Ricarda, or Casa Gomis designed by Spanish architect Antoni Bonet i Castellana is one of the critical midcentury buildings in Spain. Located by the Mediterranean Sea in El Prat de Llobregat, a town 10 miles southwest of Barcelona, the house was commissioned by Ricardo Gomis and Inés Bertrand in 1949.
La Ricarda House Technical Information
- Architects: Antoni Bonet i Castellana
- Location: El Prat de Llobregat, Barcelona, Spain
- Remodelation: Fernando Álvarez Prozorovch y Jordi Roig
- Topics: Spanish Houses, Modernism
- Design Year: 1949
- Project Year: 1953 – 1963
- Drawings and Photographs: © Steve de Vriendt
The house was built thinking even about the smallest details. I remember that several ceramic tiles from Cucurny were selected as pavement and they made us step on them with our shoes wet and dry to check which tiles showed the dirt less.– Beatriz Gomis Bertrand (daughter of the clients)1
La Ricarda House Photographs
Text by Fernando Alvarez and Jordi Roig
Barcelona-born architect Antonio Bonet Castellana, who had trained with Le Corbusier and Josep Lluís Sert, designed the house while living in Buenos Aires, where he had emigrated from Paris after the start of the Spanish Civil War.
Working closely with the clients via letters, Bonet designed every aspect of the building, from the overall organization to the materials, interior details, and furniture. The result was a spacious and harmonious house defined by an 8.8m x 8.8m grid of thin metal pillars and vaults, with connected but distinct areas for the different uses. The house was also designed with its natural surroundings in mind, blurring inside and outside, and paying particular attention to the nearby pines, dunes, and water.
At the beginning of 1950, the Gomis Bertrand family receives the first design for the house, which proposed an elevated platform over a grid of pilotis, a large platform topped by an expansive “butterfly” roof and considerable terraces connected by ramps, from which you could oversee the landscape. After reviewing this initial idea, the clients asked the architect to reduce the dimensions of the house and to strengthen the connection with the landscape of the site, defined by the presence of a forest of pinus pines and dunes. In May of 1953, Bonet travels to Barcelona and presents a second proposal that shows a radical change in the approach to the surroundings and the technical-formal aspects of the house. While the first project suggested a floating, durable, and autonomous image, the second project proposed a house that expanded horizontally over a sizeable elevated platform, but also closely connected to the surrounding landscape.
Above the platform, about 2.1 meters (6.9 feet) elevated from the natural ground, Bonet proposed a square grid of 8.82 meters x 8.82 meters (29 feet x 29 feet) that organized both the covered areas as well as the exterior areas. With that simple move, the architect was able to not only separate the house from the humidity of the coastal ground and dominate the views but also create an exterior space that is complementary and inseparable from the interior one, subject to the same geometric rules.
During the construction of the house (1957-1963), Bonet continued to revise the technical aspects of the project, introducing small modifications, such as the connection to the independent pavilion, the final location for the pool, and other changes, always conforming to the general modular order. A base plan and a model created by the builder (Emilio Bofill, father of Ricardo and Anna Bofill) were the documents that demonstrate this remarkable work in progress.
The roof of the house has twelve modules defined by a vault made out of concrete and ceramic tiles supported by four slender steel columns that are spread out according to the two main axes. The sequence of living room-dining room-kitchen defines the program facing south while the bedroom wing, the garage, and service area define the axis sea-forest. Finally, the independent pavilion houses the main bedroom.
La Ricarda, Gomis House Floor Plan
La Ricarda, Gomis House Image Gallery
About Antoni Bonet i Castellana
Antoni Bonet i Castellana (1913-1989) was a Spanish architect from Catalonia, designer, and urban planner. He began his career with Josep Lluís Sert and Josep Torres Clavé and was a member of GATCPAC. He is best remembered as one of the designers of the “BKF” Butterfly chair, as part of the Austral Group, in Buenos Aires, Argentina, in 1938, along with partners Juan Kurchan and Jorge Ferrari Hardoy.
Other works from Antonio Bonet
- Memories by Beatriz Gomis Bertrand (b. 1949) La Ricarda, What This House is For Me published in mas context