Vivienda prefabricada en Cedeira: MYCC Arquitectos

Fernando Guerro, FG+SG. Vivienda prefabricada en Cedeira, MYCC Arquitectos, Madrid. 2010

MYCC  consists of three Spanish architects who studied variously in Dresden, Rotterdam, Vienna and Dortmund and then all arrived at ETSAMadrid, graduating in 2005.  Carmina Casajuana specialises in housing and urban design, Beatriz Casares works with Arquitectura Viva and Marcos Gonzalez is a specialist in urban environments. 

The project shown here is a pre-fabricated house in Galiza: Prefab House Cedeira. MYCC's statement about prefabrication and modularity clearly distinguishes between houses that are manufactured and those that are built – 'Something that leads us to believe in the efficient assembly line of an industrial building, covered and controlled, unlike a traditional work setting at the mercy of external factors that determine the construction.

Nothing too controversial here, this has been the argument for pre-fabrication for decades.  However, there isn't a great history of pre-fab housing in Europe: it simply isn't in their architectural tradition as it is in North America.  MYCC appears to be unhindered by the conventions of pre-fabrication with which our manufactured homes seem to struggle. 

Right, so it is about the design, not the process.  Perhaps.  This house has a loft, it has a glass front, it has a rusted steel screen over the glass front with workable shutters in it.  It is really beautiful, minimal, efficient, romantic.  It looks like an art gallery, it really is a cabin in the woods. 

Side walls and roof are the same material: from the photos it looks like an insulated steel panel.  We have these.  They are made in Airdrie and used to make ghastly imitation new urbanism housing for northern reserves.  However, here in the Casa Cedeira, the side walls and roof wrap the two storeys: the gable end walls are glass and steel.  How do we know this isn't Canada?  None of the steps have handrails and so they read as plane changes.  The main view of the ocean is screened, protected, rationed.  The relationship between house and landscape, even given that this house is newly constructed and the site is still scarred, is pretty uncompromising: it sits like a barn — neither the house nor the landscape are mediated or softened.  The hard line between building and site seems to have an urban sensibility to me.  Anything romantic about it is contained within the building itself, in the screen, in the light and shadows inside, not in its relationship with nature. 

I wonder if in Canada with our well discussed and theorised relationship with nature and survival, our cabins and cottages, camps and summer houses aren't too apologetic in their architecture, trying to either be invisible, or so deferential to things such as 'the view' that nature (whether it be the beach, the woods, or the front street) is over-exposed and unremitting.   Cedeira is more like a little fortress, autonomous and very much in control of its position.

Fernando Guerro, FG+SG. Vivienda prefabricada en Cedeira,night. MYCC Arquitectos, Madrid, 2010