ETERNAL RETURN

Overlooking the Atlantic Ocean in the city of Cádiz stands The House of the Infinite – a modern home fit for ancient gods.

According to Andalusian legend, the city of Cádiz was founded by Hercules. And if the divine hero still lived there today, he’d probably be found in The House of the Infinite – a luxury villa designed by the Spanish architect Alberto Campo Baeza.

The minimalist structure – a single, rectangular slab – was completed in 2014 and is made from travertine, a form of limestone similar to white marble; a reference to the material used by the Roman settlers who expanded this city almost two thousand years ago.

Indeed, with half of the building sunk deep in the desert, The House of the Infinite often resembles an archaeological dig. This impression is reinforced by three freestanding walls found on its roof platform, which look like ruins. The longest of these structures separates the house from passing traffic, and is cut by several tall doorways, evoking the lintel-and-column structure of a Greek temple. According to Baeza, the effect was intentional, and says he imagined the house as “an acropolis, where the gods descend to converse with humans”.

In keeping with the archaeological ambience, visitors enter the house via a recessed passageway, submerging themselves, as it were, into the limestone itself. Here, in the building’s second storey the design remains austere, but the style is unmistakably modern; the floor plan is largely open, which helps animate social occasions and emphasises the vastness of the living space. As one looks sideways across this floor, concentric apertures create a telescoping visual effect, similar to an ‘infinity mirror’ illusion. Above, the skylights are large, curving tunnels, like holes carved by waves into a grotto that lend the building a hint of whimsy.

Regardless, the undeniable main feature of this room is the view of the Atlantic Ocean, which runs perpendicular to the house, and is visible through floor-to-ceiling windows that cover nearly all of the 20-metre length of the building’s seaside face. Drenched in beams of light during the day, this is a room for idolising the sun god Apollo. The bottom floor, comprised of several bedroom suites, opens directly onto the sand. The décor on this level is sparse, continuing the emphasis found elsewhere on uninterrupted lines. However, there are concessions to comfort, such as an extensive set of divans, found sporadically throughout the property.

In the bathroom showers, Baeza chose GROHE fixtures from the Rainshower® Classics range because of their “simple lines and good finishes” that would match his designs. Like the Roman aqueducts that once flowed to Cádiz from the mainland, these fittings deliver a fresh deluge to bathers after a salty afternoon on the beach.

RAINSHOWER® CLASSIC

The installed GROHE Rainshower® Classic showerheads match The House of the Infinite’s modern lines, while also offering four different spray patterns: Jet, Champagne, Rain und DreamSpray.

Baeza chose Cádiz as the site for what he calls “the most radical house we have ever made” specifically because it is the oldest city in Western Europe. On paper, building such a contemporary-looking dwelling in a location steeped in tradition might seem like a mismatch, but in Baeza’s hands, it has been skilfully rendered. While The House of the Infinite is unmistakably modern, it exudes a sense of timelessness, making it a fitting homage to the relics of antiquity.