The place is of profound tranquility where after a day of rain and fog an intense light reflects in the stilled mirror of the majestic Hudson River´s deep waters. A place where twilights are a thousand colors as the water breaks into a thousand reflections. A place where the air is clean and calm, and mild. One could say a place that is very close to heaven.

Project Name: Olnick Spanu House
Architect Name: Alberto Campo Baeza

Olnick Spanu House By Alberto Campo Baeza - Sheet3In this impressive place, we establish a plane, a platform that underlines the landscape before us, seeking to enhance it.

A large long box is thus built, 122 feet long by 54 feet wide by 12 feet high, with sturdy concrete walls that accentuate its relationship to the land. The roof of this box is flat, paved in stone, travertine, so that we may use it.

Olnick Spanu House By Alberto Campo Baeza - Sheet4And to protect ourselves from the sun and rain, over the stone plane we raise a light roof 100 feet long by 40 feet wide by 9 feet tall, held by 10 cylindrical steel pillars that are arranged according to a 20 x 20 foot grid. This roof cantilevers 10 feet along all of its sides.  And to make this space habitable, we put a glass box under the roof, an enclosure measuring 94 feet long by 25 feet wide. This glass box contains the back row of columns within it and leaves the front columns outside, in order to further accentuate its transparency.

Olnick Spanu House By Alberto Campo Baeza - Sheet5This construction on the platform resembles a large table with ten legs. Three areas are created within it, divided by two white boxes that do not reach the ceiling, containing the stairs and service spaces. The central space is the living area, and the dining room has a large white table. On one side, closer to the swimming pool, is the kitchen, and on the other side, in the manner of a pensatorio, the area around the hearth.

Olnick Spanu House By Alberto Campo Baeza - Sheet7And below, inside the cement box, the bedrooms and baths are housed. In its central vestibule, connecting the main entrance and the access to the garden, a gallery has been created where pieces of Arte Povera and other pieces of contemporary Italian art are displayed, in addition to other areas around the house.

In all, once again, the hut over the cave. The tectonic piece on top of the stereotomic piece.


Born in Valladolid, Spain 1946, he saw the Light in Cadiz. He is a Professor in the School of Architecture of Madrid, ETSAM 1986. He has taught at the ETH in Zurich 1989-90 and the EPFL in Lausanne 1996-97, as well as the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia 1999-00, the Kansas State University, Kansas 2006, the CUA University in Washington 2012, and the University at Buffalo, 2017. And in many other Schools of Architecture.

He has received many awards like the Torroja, Madrid 2003, the Award of the UPM University for his Excellence in Teaching, Madrid 2012, the Heinrich Tessenow Gold Medal, Hamburg 2013, the Arnold W. Brunner Memorial Prize of the American Academy of Arts and Letters, New York 2013, and il Premio Piranesi, Roma 2018..

He is Full Member at the Royal Academy of Fine Arts of San Fernando of Spain since 2014. RIBA International Fellowship, London 2014. Doctor Honoris Causa Universidad CEU San Pablo, Madrid 2018. Honorary Fellowship AIA, New York 2019.

He has exhibited his work in the Crown Hall IIT Chicago 2003, the Urban Center, New York 2003, the Palladio Basilica, Vicenza 2004, the Haghia Irene Church, Istanbul 2005, the Tempietto S. Pietro in Montorio, Roma 2010, the MAXXI, Roma 2011, the MA Gallery, Tokyo 2009, the American Academy of Arts and Letters, New York 2013, and Universidade Lusiada, Lisbone 2019.

And there are many books with his texts “La Idea Construida” (The Built Idea), “Pensar con las manos” (Thinking with your hands), “Principia Architectonica”, “Poetica Architectonica”, “Varia Architectonica”, “Quiero ser Arquitecto” (I want to be an Architect), “Teaching to teach”, “La suspension del tiempo” and “Textos Críticos” and “Palimpsesto Architectonico” 2019. Many of them have been published in several languages. Recently, all his work has been gathered in a book CAMPO BAEZA Complete Works by Thames & Hudson, London.


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