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Top architects | A-CERO


A-CERO is an architecture and town planning studio. This company was created in 1996 with the goal of renowing and develop architectural projects. The team is constituted by Joaquin Torres and Rafael Llamazares.


As architects, they admire the classics, of course Le Corbusier and Mies, but feel a special attraction to the minimalist architecture of John Pawson and follow Spanish masters as Ignacio Ramos and Jose Antonio Vicens. The house of Las Matas of the latter, will influence them decisively.

After designing their own studio they undertook a small project, the Bar ‘Casa Pilar’ and cross again the lines of imagination with an ambitious work but with great balance of forms. Success is immediate, and with it they will meet Amancio Ortega (Inditex), who entrust them his own house, and after this, the design of ‘Often’ stores.


The house of Juan Torres, father of the architect Joaquín Torres, was the first major studio project. Spectacularly huge, with classic art works that create a pleasant contrast to the radical contemporary forms designed by the studio A-cero.

See also: Top Interior Designers | Lorenzo Castillo


The architecture studio A-cero was founded in 1996 in A Coruña – Spain. Since the beginning, it established a philosophy design of modern architecture inspired by the art world, especially in sculpture, and in the best contemporary architects and designers, finding soon its own hallmark.


The team, led by Joaquin Torres & Rafael Llamazares, has grown in proportion to its activity and customer demand. The success achieved mainly by single family houses, followed the orders of the first large buildings such as an office building in the M-40 in Madrid or the Faculty of Social Sciences at the University of A Coruña.

In recent years, the work in the Studio has been intensified enhancing the department of landscaping and interior design (creating even its own showroom in Madrid), and ending the conceptual model of architecture as a whole: Architecture, interior design and landscaping. Moreover, A-cero Tech project (modular houses) is now a reality as an option for a high quality demand.


Very quickly, A-cero has begun its process of internationalization after winning a private competition for a 500,000 m2 complex in Dubai. Now, the Studio has offices in Madrid, A Coruña and Dubai and currently is developing projects in countries like India, the USA, Belgium, Saudi Arabia, Thailand, Russia, Malta, Dominican Republic… In 2012, the museum of contemporary Art of Valencia (IVAM) dedicated a retrospective exposition to the A-cero work. Today with 20 years of hard word, of a lot experiences designing Joaquín Torres and his partner Rafael Llamazares, go into more and largest projects such as the recent Headquarters for “Metro” company in Madrid.

Joaquín Torres, Principal

He is born in Barcelona, where his infancy happens, but soon his family returns to Madrid where all his adolescence will reside already. Any way his parents and his familiar origins are Galician (Northwest of Spain). Half Galician, half from Madrid Joaquin is confessed. He studies in the French Lyceum of Madrid, and from very prompt age it develops a special interest in the world of the art and of the architecture particularly. He decides then to study this degree in the University of Corunna, producing in a brilliantly way. Shortly after finishing the degree in the year 96, he starts up in the Galician capital an architecture studio together with others classmate, to which they put the name of A-cero (regarding that of the format of paper, the beginning of something …). Of those partners even today there continues his common event also architect Rafael Llamazares, current associate.


So the life of the A-cero Studio begins in Corunna and the Galician community mainly. And from his beginning there is established a philosophy of conception of modern architecture inspired by the world of the art, especially of the sculpture, and of big architects and designers of contemporary style in addition their own vital experiences, trips… Soon they achieve a style – hallmark of very faithful and consistent identity along his professional trajectory. This persistence in a way of creating singular architecture (for many people risked) that take shape already from his first works even in interior design, are granting him to true A-cero name and reference, they being finalists in the awards FAD in two occasions. The works produced like better letter of introduction and the intense commercial work of Joaquín, does that the jump takes place to Madrid of a very significant way, and although being more numerous the projects of single-family housings, they always begin facing his first big buildings, like the office block in the M-40 street in Madrid, showroom – building in Havana street also in Madrid, or the faculty of social sciences of the University of Corunna.


In the last years, the work is intensified and is boosted the interior design department and landscaping also, reaching the conceptual model of the architecture like an “all”: Architecture, interior design and landscaping. Quickly, starts a process of internationalization of A-cero, after winning a competition for an urban development of a complex of 500.000 m2 in Dubai, began the orders from this emirate, like the project of the skyscraper Wave Tower, or the creation of The Heart of Europe in the artificial islands The World Islands. At present way is opened with new projects in countries like Vietnam, India, Russia … Finally, it is necessary to emphasize the project of (prefabricated) modular housings that are already a reality and a success given the quantity of the first requests. It is a question of a housings line “low cost” of modern design and of rapid production and assembly After 15 years creating architecture, Joaquín Torres and Rafael Llamazares design the A-cero furniture. The doors of the showroom open A-cero IN in 66 Castelló St. of Madrid. With this point of sale there happens the opportunity of which any person could have an A-cero “bit” in his house without need of entrusting a global project. In this year A-cero show an spectacular exhibition in Modern Art Museum of Valencia (IVAM).

Background and realizations: best projects

Marble & Bamboo

This project by A-CERO was led by JoaquinTorres and RafaelLlamazares, present sone of its last unifamiliar housing projects. It is a home located ina residential complexin northern Madrid. The houses located in arectangularplotof 2,800m2,where there are plentyof pines andoaks. Since A-cero aims to preserve these Mediterranean species, the housing project pretendstolive with themso much so that both embrace in the facade.


The lowslope plot follows the existingurban parameters with the curving shapes characteristic of theStudio. The house is built of ventilated stone white marblereal cream combined with bamboo wood, giving it character and sobriety.


Inside, the spaces are wide andfull of lightin every room of the house.For the floor, A-cero chooses acreampolishedmarble for the living room and an Havannaoak for the bedrooms. Suggestive form sof architecture are introduced into the interior of the house thanks to afurniture design with plenty ofcurves.

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We have to highlight the kitchen, with an A-cero design that follows the thread of the project. The finishingismade of wood and White Corian. The furniture in the house combines the A-cero designed ones with other elements chosen by the property, where simplicity and elegance are the general trend. The white color, flooding theroom, is mixed with warmer tonesin brownsand grays.

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See also: Top Architects | Santiago Calatrava

The distribution of the house is done in three levels. The first floor has three en suite bedrooms, while the ground floor houses alarge living room,a guest toilet, kitchen with storage area, and a spacious master bedroom with dressing room. In the basement floor is situated the garage, service area and other facilities. On the outside, A-cero respects the existing vegetation on the plotandmakes apool with changing room.


Store Reform – A-CERO

On Mesones street, one of the best known, commercial and important streets of Granada, Spain, there is a little store of 50 m2 that has been renovated by A-cero. The customer is the spanish leading brand Camper, devoted to the exhibition and sale of trendy shoes. It will be its first store in Granada.


The first important point is the use of the space, as a wide and useful place is needed. A-cero was selected for this work because of its actual, fresh and dynamic design, the keys for Joaquín Torres and Rafael Llamazares projects. Each store that Camper opens has his own style and represents an event, depending, among other things, on the designer chosen for the project.

Fotografia reform store

Camper always looks for a new style and concept for their stores, making a different and special place. Other collaborators chosen by Camper have been Olé Armengol, Fernando Amat, Óscar Mariné, Javier Mariscal, Carlos Rolando, Jordi Nogués, Martí Guixé, Shiro Miura and, more recently, in the project To&ether, Jaime Hayón, Alfredo Häberli, Konstantin Grcic, Campana brothers, Memphis group, Bouroullec brothers, Benedetta Tagliabue, Tokujin Yoshioka, Doshi & Levien, Juli Capella and Tomás Alonso.

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The location of the store is really good being placed in the most famous and commercial street of Granada. The store, with 48 m2, used to be a clothing shop partially abandoned


Two colors: white and red, typical of the A-cero interior design projects and Camper. The space is open and projected with organic elements like the expositors, made of lacquered wood with white shelves and red face, having an indirect lighting by leds. Also, following the floor shapes, there is a red and white bolon. Adding more sculptural values to the complex, in the middle part there is another module curve used as a breach change. To achieve more depth at the rear wall there is a mirror. There is still a space for a warehouse at the back. The front is made of composite panel with red aluminum and the showcase has been made of glass and red vinyl following the style of the store.

The final result is an interesting fusion between the corporative resources and designs of Camper and A-cero. A special place that improves the market of the area and also to feel the universe of Camper and A-cero.


Stunning Single Family Property in Marbella

The property is placed on the outskirts of Puerto Banús, in one of the most famous and exclusive developments in the Sun Coast. This development is located on one side of a mountain but very close to the coast, with plenty of Mediterranean vegetation.


The plot where the project is located has a notorious slope that goes down to the South from the street access. This fact would determinate the design to adapt the house to the environment and achieve excellent views of the Mediterranean Sea


The possibilities of the plot and the wishes of the property appear in the execution of this huge project. The floor is rectangular and places the most used spaces to the south façade in order to enjoy the views. Here is where the plot is open to the outside.


The north façade, where is located the access to the house, is more sober but forceful from an architectonic point of view, with walls and plans crossed and cut. There is a path with geometric forms covered with a layer of water that goes to the main door. The windows are secondary on the aesthetics of the house, but really important to give light to the corridors, distributors or common spaces.


The north façade, where is located the access to the house, is more sober but forceful from an architectonic point of view, with walls and plans crossed and cut. There is a path with geometric forms covered with a layer of water that goes to the main door. The windows are secondary on the aesthetics of the house, but really important to give light to the corridors, distributors or common spaces.


In this part of the house, orientated to the south, the black glass windows are bigger to connect the outside with the inside, like the big one in the living room that hides in the floor automatically.

The greatest part, in architectonic terms, is the big volume over the porch where stays the main bedroom on the first floor. The property is “dressed” with Roman transventilated travertine stone.


Inside, the house has wide spaces, all of them modeled by natural light.

The property is developed in three levels. The low floor is the most public space and includes the living-room, kitchen, dining room, laundry and a little service room.


The first floor is the most private area and here we can find the bedrooms and a little office.

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The ground floor is dedicated to a relax area, with a spa, an internal pool, gym and garage. The large central courtyards that articulate the property core give light to this level of the house.


Dwelling In Avila / A-cero

A dwelling of generous proportions developed over a single storey to facilitate the indoor-outdoor connection and to make the most of the environment in which it stands. Surrounded by meadows, tree groves, chestnut, pine and oak trees and wildlife represented by stags, wild boar and roe deer, the edifice establishes a recognised link with the traditional architecture and vernacular customs. Stone, tile, wood have been used in its construction.


The sense of the architecture is to formalise the space and layout of the rooms besides representing a clear tribute to rural villages. The consequence is an open, U-shaped dwelling with a large central courtyard that shares out the uses. The principal wing houses the living rooms, dining room, TV room and children’s and playrooms. In the east wing is the kitchen, laundry room and cellar and in the west wing the master bedroom. Semi-independent pavilions house the installations, riding facilities, stables and the guardians’ dwelling. Two immense awnings frame the landscape.


Through an apt play of symmetries visual perspectives are created. A painstaking study of the light allows it to come in through courtyards, grooves, windows, skylights and façade openings. The courtyards help us to minimise the conditions of the extreme climate, provide colour, freshness and hold the ponds that reflect the serenity and musicality of the water.

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Indoors there is a consistency in its development that offers us serene, private ambiences full of nuances and subtleties. The house generates its own environment and assimilates the best of what there is. The project arises as a response to the demands of the place.

The Most Iconic Projects

Concrete House II

The architecture studio A-cero presents one of its last works about a big single-family house. It takes place in the outskirts of Madrid on a 5,000 m2 plot. It is a single storey building and it has a 1,600 m2 built surface.


The first sensation that this house produces when people go into the plot is that the building seems to be hidden between concrete walls and vegetable ramps that extend up to the roof. They are dyed in dark gray and contain, between them, vegetation areas that seem to climb towards the sky. The house´s façade show a spectacular organic view of the whole house and so even the hard concrete shows its most kind face.

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The back front of the house is totally opened towards the garden where the lounge, dining room, library, study and bedrooms are. In this façade the wide windows, the volumes set and the projections (made of concrete too enhance. These elements cover the several house´s porches. The large window of the main lounge hides itself automatically in order to make this stay completely opened to the exterior areas. The plot includes also an elegant garden, a small lake and a padel track.

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The ecological aspect is very in this A-cero´s work: the façade and the roof have the main ecological roles because they are covered with low consume vegetation. Furthermore on the house´s roof has been implemented a renewable energy system made of wide surfaces with solar tubular collectors who allow that the energy autonomy of the house.

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House in Somosaguas II

The plot, where this housing is situated, is the result of dividing an original state. It adopts the form of an irregular polygon of four sides, presents a light slope and has a surface of 13.357 sqm.


The plot borders to the North on common spaces of the housing development; on the South with the access route and to the east with the nearby plot. The housing development has a lot of wide gardens between the houses which are arranged around a central pond.

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Following the client needs, the housing develops in three plants, dividing its space in differentiated areas: a buried floor where is the facilities rooms, holiday room, movies room and a gymnasium with dressing room; the first floor, where the access is located, developed in different levels separating different functions: garage, kitchen with several rooms like a larder, a cellar, a cleaning utensils room, office, service area with laundry, drying area and a safety room; furthermore, there is an area for the principal bedroom with its dressing-rooms, baths, gymnasium and swimming pool. In the last floor they are located a lounge and the children bedrooms, all of them with its bathrooms.

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Next to the principal housing is located the service house, provided of a lounge and four bedrooms with their bathrooms. This second piece is integrated to the whole volume with the surrounding curved walls, which mark the exterior unit of the project and delimit the open spaces inside.


According to the client desires, the housing presents a closed face towards the exterior, solved with a series of concentric curved walls of natural stone that produce open spaces more intimate and private in its interior area. A scenery created by natural stone elements and water. The spaces are organized in battery along a series of longitudinal stripes that define the different types of use. In the transverse sense, the housing is organized in a gradation made of closed and open volumes, and from social and services spaces to private and intimate areas. Two principal stripes are separated by an open space marked by a water sheet. The transit between both parts is done across a sculptural footbridge of massive granite blocks, which marks in a physical and symbolic way the housing limits.


The exterior walls are made of travertino Roman marble, solved in a system of ventilated front that it allows to put in value the aesthetic qualities of the natural stone, making use at the same time of technical qualities of this constructive system as its climatic efficiency and easy maintenance.


In most of the interior spaces the floors are finished in black granite, while in some points in the first floor the travertino marble is used too in order to give unit to the housing set.


Special Project by A-CERO

Modularing House

A-cero architecture Studio, directed by Joaquin Torres introduces a modular architecture product in the market, based on the principles of the Industrialized Construction. Applying same standardization procedures to the construction, modularity, technology, quality control and time spaces that are applied to other many fields of human activity. The most evident example being the production of automobiles, with already more than one century of expositions of chain production by Henry Ford.


Benefiting from the same advantages, with production in factory and assembly on development plot, less time and more specialized labour, increase the results as far as quality and price, not comparable with the final product of traditional construction, demanding greater control in the initial phases of design, since absolutely everything must be designed and controlled beforehand, place for improvisation being non existent.


A-cero’s bet for Industrialized Construction being, initially two models of house with two and three bedrooms with an extremely fitted cost and final price will be developed, very special attention is taken care of with the distribution and the inhabitable spaces.


Sign to the previous being, initiation of the construction of two pilot homes with the simultaneous study of several orders.

A-cero will also offer the possibility of having these houses totally decorated and equipped, in the same way you would receive a boat.


As an example, you could own an 82m2 house for 69,000€ or fully decorated and equipped for 85,000€, possible financing via mortgage loans in the same way as if it were a traditional development.

To mention by Joaquin Torres, that this system is not exclusive for residential construction, but that it could also be applied to different typology of construction such as; schools, offices, retirement homes or student residences.


With this challenge A-cero intends to popularize design and constructive quality in architecture, searching for design architecture affordable to anyone not relegated to cultural and economic elite.

The creator’s choice

Other creations besides architecture are furniture items that A-CERO has created for VONDOM, a company that uses plastic as the main material.


Rest – A-CERO for Vondom


Planter – A-CERO for Vondom


Wing – A-CERO for Vondom

See more: Top Interior Designers | Patricia Urquiola


Top Projects Gallery




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