The evolution of architecture in Sotogrande


Since the 1960s, the area of Sotogrande has been a loved destination of the global elite. They come for the world-class polo, championship golf courses, exciting watersports, tennis, horse-riding and most importantly to connect with family and friends in a setting of rare discretion on the Mediterranean shores. Many have built properties here, or bought on the luxury villa developments and we can see a fascinating evolution of architecture as we travel through Sotogrande. From the low-rise villas with Moorish influences which were captured in the iconic photographs of Slim Arons in the 1970s right through to the 21st Century contemporary architecture being built now at La Reserva Club de Sotogrande, Sotogrande has a rich and diverse architectural heritage and a bright future.

Bathers round a pool in Sotogrande, Spain, August 1975. (Photo by Slim Aarons)

This residential hideaway was created in 1962 by Colonel Joseph McMicking who wanted to build a residential development modelled on Florida’s Palm Beach. The properties on offer across the resort range in architectural styles varying from the traditional Andalucian and Moorish, all the way through to modern and contemporary design. You will find a large number of earlier properties channelling the American Hacienda style which connects it to McMicking’s vision. You will also find colourful, low rise apartment buildings in Sotogrande’s marina, which mix the Mediterranean and South American styles of architecture and delight the eyes with the mixture of bright colours and wooden verandas.

In the areas of Sotogrande Alto and Sotogrande Costa you can find many luxury mansions discreetly hidden behind gates along the wide boulevards. Over time, villas have changed to reflect the needs of the owners, new technologies and trends and have changed from smaller holiday homes, to larger properties which are used year-round and utilise the latest materials and technologies.

The luxury housing market in Sotogrande is extremely buoyant, with demand continuing to increase, well priced properties selling quickly and a particular interest in properties boasting a sea view. Buyers are requesting contemporary architecture which pushes the boundaries and offers comfortable and luxurious family homes built with comfort at their very core. New developments are now being created to meet these needs in the final chapter in the Sotogrande story – La Reserva Club de Sotogrande.

Private and secure within gated areas of parkland, the properties under construction at La Reserva Club will be contemporary masterpieces that allow the surrounding scenery to unfold around them. Landscaping therefore leads the vision for this project and Jean Mus, France’s highly decorated Architecte Paysagiste who created the gardens at the Ritz Paris and Palais de Monaco, has been appointed to design the natural areas, marrying the ancient landscape to his signature Provençal style.

The apex of La Reserva Club’s property portfolio will be a world-first collection of seven extraordinary villas aptly named The Seven. On private one-hectare plots, each one has been specifically designed by an internationally renowned architect from Brazil to Southern and Northern Europe to complement the incredible scenery that surrounds it. These will be homes like no other in the world, appealing to people who dream of distinctive style and ‘one-of-a-kind’ architecture. These villas combine exceptional living and entertaining spaces, extensive leisure facilities, screening rooms and spa, swimming pools and terraces, garaging and staff quarters. Their design blends in with the natural materials of the land and responds to the passage of the sun through the course of the day.

THE SEVEN – THE JENSEN VILLA by Jensen & Skodvin

Marc Topiol CEO of Sotogrande SA explains. “The architects for the seven villas were specifically chosen as a result of their previous work in innovation. We needed each architect to work with Jean

Mus and create a harmony between architecture and nature, weaving and blending the landscape through their designs. They had to approach the project with great flexibility and an open mind. The result will be seven uniquely crafted residences and an absolute statement in architectural virtuosity and crafted landscaping.

“Our overall focus is a respect for nature and space – part of Sotogrande’s key features – and so the homes here sit comfortably within their own land, and there is room for contemplation and stillness. We have opted for the other end of the spectrum instead of creating a high-density area.”

In all only ten private and secure communities are being created at La Reserva Club. Another of these is El Mirador, six sophisticated and contemporary villas with awe-inspiring views from their vantage point up high in the hills. Three have already sold at prices that were unseen for this region.

Villa Lavanda – El Mirador

Designed by respected Andalusian practice, ARK, the four- to nine-bedroom villas balance modern architecture with indigenous inspirations and include such facilities as indoor and outdoor swimming pools, steam rooms, media rooms and wine cellars, extensive entertaining spaces and landscaped gardens, plus staff accommodation and garaging.

In 2019, the newest project was launched in response to demand for community living with exceptional facilities in the beautiful countryside of Sotogrande. Village Verde is reimagining the traditional concept of a village and bringing it up to date to offer the perfect place for modern living, with a strong sense of community. The beautifully designed and constructed apartments, penthouses and townhouses are built around the Village Centre and set within a green, lush parkland. This gives residents a chance to connect with nature, while having everything they need on their doorstep. The properties offer the ultimate in contemporary open-plan living, eco-friendly design and lateral layouts to maximise terrace space.

Topiol concludes, “It is an incredibly exciting time for us. Our vision for La Reserva Club is now coming to fruition and it promises to charm the most discerning of visitors with its unrivalled qualities of barefoot luxury, incredible scenery, world-class facilities and entertainment.”

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