La Casa del Desierto building, Granada property, New Andalucia home images, Spanish architecture design project

La Casa del Desierto in Granada

Contemporary Desert House in Andalucia, Spain design by OFIS arhitekti and AKT II

28 Feb 2018

Location: Guadix, Granada, Andalusia, Spain

Design: OFIS arhitekti and AKT II

The Desert House in Andalucia

La Casa del Desierto in Granada

Photos © Gonzalo Botet

The Desert House, Granada

A desert. A house. A range of special glass types and a team of skilled professionals. This is “La Casa del Desierto” (the desert house). One of Guardian Glass’s most exclusive, demanding, risky, creative and efficient projects, was recently completed in Spain with a clear objective: to demonstrate first hand and in situ across the four seasons of the year, the importance of glass in our daily life, and in one of the toughest environments you could ever imagine!

La Casa del Desierto in Granada

Challenging nature and designed to withstand the Gorafe Desert (Province of Granada, Spain), which is considered one of the most adverse and extreme environments in Europe, La Casa del Desierto stands on a wooden structure and is fully glazed with high performance, energy-efficient Guardian Glass. Covering only 20m2, the layout consists of three areas: bedroom, bathroom and living room. A large space directly overlooking the landscape, La Casa also has a water filtration system, an energy generation system and a set of photovoltaic panels.

La Casa del Desierto in Granada

The design is the result of the combined efforts of a large and experienced team of architects led by Spela Videcnik of OFIS Architects – together with Guardian Glass specialists and engineers and energy consultants from AKT II and Transsolar. The vision is to meet current and future challenges of architecture and construction, promoting environmentally friendly and energy efficient structures. A project where the glass type used to enclose each space has a direct impact, demonstrating that it is possible to transform the interior environment of a home by selecting the most appropriate glass for each situation.

La Casa del Desierto in Granada

The window glazing in a home helps save energy, improves the thermal and acoustic insulation of the inner spaces and can even increase the level of security against impact or attempted burglary. Ultimately, when selected according to the specific needs of each case, glazing ensures that a building is a practical and comfortable home regardless of where it is located. What’s more, Guardian Glass, in addition to having the right product portfolios, has the tools to easily specify products, while providing advice and guidance along the way. With the help of high performance Guardian Glass glazing, architects and interior designers from around the world can design and enhance the great indoors.

La Casa del Desierto in Granada La Casa del Desierto in Granada

The location: the Gorafe Desert
Located in the northern part of the region of Guadix, in the province of Granada, Andalusia, the desert of Coloraos de Gorafe owes its name to the shades of its red sandstone and to the diversity of rock formations in the area shaped by the peculiarities of the erosion system and the lack of vegetation. Thousands of years of erosion have created the “Badlands”, so called because of their extreme aridity and ravine-like appearance. Canyons, gullies, ravines, canals and other similar geological formations compose the general landscape of this desert, which is considered one of Europe’s most adverse environments.

La Casa del Desierto in Granada

The experts talk about “La Casa del Desierto”
Spela Videcnik, architect at OFIS Architects: “How we can create a home with a comfortable atmosphere in harsh conditions such as a desert, is what we find most exciting. On the other hand, the landscape is beautiful, it is a perfect hideaway or escape from this type of city life, so we wanted to create a comfortable environment for someone to be alone (…) Hoping to work together to demonstrate that we can create a glass house in the desert that can provide a comfortable environment.”
Markus Krauss, climate engineer at Transsolar: “What was my first thought? Something like… Oh my God! It’s going to be quite hot. And the second was… well, that should make an interesting challenge.”

Tomás Kovács, Head of Technical Advice, Guardian Glass: “This will be a completely stand alone house. It has no external sources of energy, electricity or gas. (…) The goal of this project is to show that, with the right glass, the great indoors can be created anywhere. (…) It will be a very demanding test for the glass.”

Miguel Pérez Navarro, mayor of Gorafe: “The first time I heard about this project, I was baffled. It may seem crazy at first, because it is about building something like a greenhouse in a desert, where on top of it all, the traditional houses are cave houses, which were originally excavated by the locals to adapt to this extreme climate.”

Guardian Glass
Guardian Glass, a major business unit of Guardian Industries, is one of the world’s largest manufacturers of float, coated and fabricated glass products. At its 25 float plants around the globe, Guardian Glass produces high performance glass for use in exterior (both commercial and residential) and interior architectural applications, as well as transportation and technical products. Guardian glass can be found in homes, offices, cars and some of the world’s most iconic architectural landmarks. The Guardian Glass Science & Technology Center continuously works to create new glass products and solutions using the most advanced technology to help customers see what’s possible™. Visit

Guardian Industries
Guardian Industries, a global company headquartered in Auburn Hills, Michigan, employs around 17,000 people and operates facilities throughout North America, Europe, South America, Africa, the Middle East and Asia. Guardian’s diverse group of companies are involved in the manufacture of high-performance float, coated and fabricated glass products; the manufacture of high-quality chrome-plated and painted plastic components for the automotive and commercial truck industries; and the distribution of specialty building products. Guardian’s vision is to create value for customers and society through constant innovation using fewer resources. Guardian is a wholly owned subsidiary of Koch Industries, Inc. Visit

La Casa del Desierto in Granada

OFIS arhitekti is an architectural practice established in 1996 by Rok Oman and Špela Videčnik, both graduates from the Ljubljana School of Architecture and London’s Architectural Association. Since its creation, the practice has received several prestigious awards, was published widely and exhibited internationally including at Architecture Biennial in Venice and Beijing.

Among their most outstanding works are the football stadium in Maribor, Museum of the City of Ljubljana, 185 student apartments in Paris and Stadium in Borisov. Many of her projects have been nominated for international awards, including the Mies Van der Rohe Prize, in 2009 they received the IOC / IAKS silver medal for the football stadium in Belarus and in 2006 they were recognized with the European Grand Prize for Innovation.

They believe rules and limitations are carrier for architecture, trying to find an issue with the brief, client, material, structural constrains or the site. In this way limitations become inspiration for difference and create identity – something that makes their work different from the rest.

Their academic work includes teaching at Harvard GSD, where they run studio from 2012, they also thought in Paris Val de Seine and Ljubljana Faculty of Architecture. Through their research Habitations in extreme environments they are creating buildings and objects on extreme remote locations. In the Alps they have build Skuta Shelter together with Harvard students, and shelters on Kanin and Ojstrica mountains.

AKT II is a progressive, design-led structural and civil engineering firm. Operating from its headquarters in Central London, they have current and complete projects in 44 countries worldwide and have won over 300 design awards. They believe that design is by its very nature curious, iterative and subject to refinement and improvement if it is to be successful. In its approach, AKT II on the one hand acquires deep knowledge of each project and, on the other, relies on the wealth of experience it has built up with the goal of creating designs that push back boundaries, offer the most suitable solutions and guarantee long-term value.

The company owes its long history to a philosophy based on the ability to listen, understanding, learning and applied science: all the key components of effective engineering.

Transsolar is an international climate engineering firm determined to create exceptional, highly comfortable indoor and outdoor spaces with a positive environmental impact. We believe that the very measures taken to create remarkable architecture can simultaneously enhance human experience and minimize resource use. To us, sustainability is not separate from design, but an indispensable component that enhances the experience of the built environment.

We are vision facilitators, idea generators, and design integrators. Our engineers are not just experts in basic physical principles; their creativity enables the collaboration necessary to develop deeply integrated comfort and energy concepts. Beginning from a project’s earliest conception, we work alongside the client, architect, design team, and the most vital participants of all – the occupants. We study the seasonal behavior of sun, wind, heat, light and other energy flows in and around the building, and formulate concepts based on the complex interdependence of the local climate, user needs, architectural design and engineered systems.

La Casa del Desierto in Granada

Photography © Gonzalo Botet

Ofis Arhitekti

La Casa del Desierto in Granada images / information received 280218


Location: Guadix, Granada, Spain

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