Truffle House: A Concrete Cave Dwelling by Ensamble Studio

This might look like a mere boulder sitting innocuously on the Atlantic coast of Spain but it is in fact the concrete husk of a unique small space retreat. The concrete moulded dwelling was designed by Ensamble Studio and was dubbed Truffle House, an apt name given its overall form and texture, luxurious qualities, and of course because it had to be dug up after developing underground (shown below).

The video above shows the creation of Truffle House over the course of a year and is probably the most artistically dramatic ‘making of’ video I’ve ever seen. However the actual method of construction for the unique dwelling is also one of the most dramatic building processes I’ve encountered, and is reminiscent of the rapid geological forces of upheaval and cooling more commonly associated with the formation of continents. Paulina the calf was the first inhabitant of Truffle House, and spent a year feasting on the 50m³ of haybales left over from the concrete casting process.

View of Truffle House Entrance

The Truffle is a piece of nature built with earth, full of air. A space within a stone that sits on the ground and blends with the territory. It camouflages, by emulating the processes of mineral formation in its structure, and integrates with the natural environment, complying with its laws.Ensamble Studio

The texture of the concrete surfaces will forever tell the story of its formation, with the blocky voids of the hay bales indented in the walls, along with the finer striations of individual straw shoots, and the unique rippled ceiling impressed by the tarpaulin sheeting.

The layout of the room and all its recesses was carefully planned out before the concrete was poured and haybales were arranged correspondingly to effortlessly create a fireplace, shower area, and entrance passage. Industrial quarrying equipment was used to hew off an entire portion of the solid concrete block to create an expansive window aperture.

The interior of Truffle House feels like a modern take on a prehistoric cave with the rocky cavernous walls, a fire and a vast aperture looking out over the sea. However more modern additions were made with the integrated shower and ingeniously disguised toilet enclosed within this box unit.

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