The best treasures are often hidden away at the end of a rugged dirt road. And so it is with the Castellon Hills of Les Usères, Spain, where a dusty path leads to an expanse of land that serves as a large, earthy canvas. But at the center of this vast and awe-inspiring landscape lies a truly magnificent structure of Spronken House, one that is unlike anything you've ever seen before, named after his creator Xander Spronken.
Spronken approaches architecture much like he approaches his other artistic endeavors. Negative space is just as important as positive mass, with light and volume animating air and void to create an inexplicable emotion. When asked about the towering doors that connect indoor and outdoor spaces, Spronken explains, "I make the doors high because… why half? I go on until it feels good."
The Spronken House generally consist of two villas that spans an impressive 310 square meters and includes four bedrooms, four bathrooms, and two pools. The generous proportions offer a sense of space and airiness that invokes a feeling of prehistoric awe of nature. Spronken's love for "pure things" is evident in the design, with raw elements left as natural as possible, such as dense wooden beams that speak of the trees that still live, forged iron hinges and frames, and sweeping panels of glass. The play of light and indoor/outdoor perspectives, along with delicately framed views of the Iberian Mountains, create an atmosphere of weightlessness and airiness that is characteristic of Spronken's mastery of multi-layered forms.
Interestingly, the idea of a livable sculpture came as a natural realization after the fact. Spronken built this house drawing from the same source he does for his sculptures. It's no wonder why he describes it as a piece of art that you can use. He takes palpable delight in the fact that you can dwell around it, sit and enjoy it, unlike his other sculptures. Spronken's nephew, Joris Dassen, has taken on the task of sharing his uncle's sculpture with like-minded guests, inviting them to discover and comprehend the artwork that unveils itself to those who take the time.
Spronken's work, which includes the iron sculptures he is known for, has always been tethered to other artistic disciplines and traditions, including architectural constructions. His rough-hewn forms and robust creations can be seen in his painted wall panels, furniture designs, and a series of glass objects and artworks that include steel and wood. Trained as a blacksmith and later as a student of sculpture at the Academy of Visual Arts Maastricht under Piet Killaars, Spronken combines traditional skills with a multifaceted artistic vision, creating works that are emotional, intuitive, and sensitive to the environment.