Beyond the limit or the Art of inhabiting the space “between”
Susana Lobo (Department of Architecture, University of Coimbra)

Invoking Walter Benjamin, in “A Topology of Thresholds”, Georges Teyssot states that “the threshold (die Schwelle) must be radically distinguished from the limit or border (die Grenze).”1 The limit is a line. It has no “thickness”. It separates and defines an “inside” and an “outside”. The threshold, on the other hand, is an area. A “passage”. It is “in between”. It consists of space and time. The same idea is behind the “in-between realm” of Aldo van Eyck. “A home for twin phenomena and hence also […] a home for a reality which is thereby interiorized and rendered transparent”.2 The Casa del Infinito (House of the Infinite) in Cádiz is centripetal and centrifugal. At once. It breathes. “Both in and out”.3

In one of the many residential holiday resorts which abound on the Iberian coast, the project by Alberto Campo Baeza explores the exceptional situation of the beachfront plot. Between the road and the sea, civilisation and nature, the house is designed as a podium from which the gaze extends as far as the horizon. This platform facing the Atlantic defines an outside-inside, contained by the body-wall-screen marking the formal entrance into the inhabited area, sheltering it from “others” and the wind. The property brings together quintessential holiday amenities in the form of a swimming pool, amphitheatre and barbecue. The house’s more conventional plan extends “downward” over two floors in a kind of Roman cryptoportico which stabilises and accompanies the declivity of the terrain. Access is gained via a stairway which descends into the travertine outer skin, leading us “inside” the building. A moment of transition, announcing an “interior”. This interior welcomes us – before presenting us once again with the sea view, exposing itself. An inside-outside in which the landscape is the house and the house itself becomes the landscape. This connection is reinforced by the minimalist expression of the frames surrounding the great recessed windows. The window, in its classical sense, disappears. There is no perceptible boundary between the “inside” and the “outside” – just a series of voids hewn into the rocky mass.

An essay on the topic of dwelling, the Casa del Infinito is a place in which opposites are reconciled: culture-nature, man-environment, inside-outside. An ambivalence upon which the concept of holidays also rests. And perhaps that is the true essence of the holiday home: the art of inhabiting the space “between”.


1. Teyssot, G. (2005). A Topology of Thresholds. Home Cultures: The Journal of Architecture, Design and Domestic Space, Vol. 2(1), pp. 89-116)

2. Eyck, A. van (2008). Writings (Vol. 1). The Child, the City and the Artist. Amsterdam: SUN, p. 124. (written in 1962)

3. Eyck, A. van (2008). Writings (Vol. 2). Collected Articles and Other Writings 1947-1998. Amsterdam: SUN, p. 200. (originally published as Eyck, A. van (1959). Verhaal van een Andere Gedachte (The Story of Another Idea). Forum, 7)






Location Cádiz, Spain
Client Private
Project 2012
Completion 2014
Architecture Estudio Alberto Campo Baeza
Authors Alberto Campo Baeza
Codirectors of construction Tomás Carranza, Javier Montero
Collaborators Alejandro Cervilla García, Ignacio Aguirre López,
Gaja Bieniasz, Agustín Gor,
 Sara Oneto
Structure Andrés Rubio Morán
Quantity Surveyor Manuel Cebada Orrequia
Quality Control Laboratorios Cogesur
Contractor Chiclana