For Sale – €2,200,000
The spectacular villa Viñas Viejas is located in the exclusive urbanisation of Rancho Domingo located on the edge of Benalmadena Pueblo in southern Spain. Possibly one of the last residential properties built using architectural plans drawn up by world renowned architect Frank Lloyd Wright, the property was built and completed by one of Wrights apprentices Robert Mosher between 1960-1964.
The History of Rancho Domingo
Rancho Domingo dates back to early 1960’s, when following James Michener’s book “[amazon text=Iberia&asin=0812969804]” and later his triumphant best seller “[amazon text=The Drifters&asin=0812986725]” (1971); where he makes much of the new found tourist destination Torremolinos, drawing in many intrepid travellers to taste its delights. He once stayed in one of the villas, later mentioning the urbanization specifically in his work …”an area called Rancho Domingo. Inside the walls Cato saw a series of spectacular mansions, one challenging the other.”
One of first hotels in the region was built by a number of American travellers from Texas. The owners of the new hotel, horse riding across fields up into the mountains towards the few houses that were Benalmadena Pueblo, stopped to admire the view, tethering their horses to an Olive tree. That very same Olive tree still stands today and graces the Zen patio on this property.
Absorbing the magnificent panorama out over the shimmering blue Mediterranean that disappears into infinity, the couple mused on creating a very special group of houses right there marketing them to the “rich & famous” in America. As Texans they thought of creating a ranch, and being a Sunday (Domingo in Spanish), the embryo of Rancho Domingo was set.
The Initial Plans – Frank Lloyd Wright
The decision was made to entice Hollywood stars, and for that a special architect name was needed. Who better than Frank Lloyd Wright? Thus the die was set. The creators of Rancho Domingo with Mrs Darryl Kidd as financier contacted Frank Lloyd Wright at the Taliesin Institute in Colorado and primary house plans were drafted. Unfortunately Frank Lloyd Wright died before construction commenced, but his star pupil and apprentice at the time Robert Mosher took the commission through to completion.
Viñas Viejas was to be the land owners first property to be built and carries the unmistakable stamp of Frank Lloyd Wright design & structure, …” that essentially must be in harmony with humanity and its environment”…. A philosophy he called “organic architecture”. The use of natural light is an important feature embodied in another signature, that of clerestory windows, that transmit daylight directly into the high ceilings of the main living space.
Exceptional unique materials were requisite for the buildings. A search began and a partly ruined Mosque in Cordoba from the Mozarabic period (AD711 – 1031) was demolished and its remains transported to the Rancho Domingo site. The materials were distributed amongst the projects, and used in the construction of all the 27 houses.
Viñas Viejas is built from the bricks, being very recognizable as Arab hand-made & sun dried which are arguably 1000 years old, as are the marble door steps. Other pieces are lightly sprinkled into the construction of the other houses throughout the urbanisation. Artifacts such as bricks, rare blue marble, ceiling beams, doors, lintels, doorsteps, fountains, roofing tiles, stone fireplaces, tiles, iron window grills, balconies and stair rails adorn the structure of the property.
The Junta de Andalucia and Central Government granted special protective status upon Rancho Domingo – that of National Patrimonial classification for exceptional arquitectonic beauty and artistry as stated in documentation from Benalmadena Town Hall:
“Obviously there is a fine connection between nature and architecture. Such architectural taste emanates from an author at the height of his work. The architect Robert Mosher, one of the chief disciples of the famous American Mr Frank Lloyd Wright; arguably the greatest architect of the XX century. To have such a jewel in the town of Benalmadena unspoiled from the school of one of the top artists to have existed in the universe of the twentieth century is a unique event. The residents of Benalmadena should be proud to have such architectural jewels in their heritage.”
Former Owners and Neighbours
Mrs Kidd and Baron Culme-Seymour lived in the property until the current owner bought it in 1992. The Baron came to Malaga as a young writer in the 1930’s and became a good friend of the author Gerald Brenan who lived close by.
Former neighbours include Elena del Campo de Barcardi, playwright Dale Wassermann and numerous actors that starred in the many Spaghetti Westerns made nearby throughout the mid ‘60s most well-known of which include [amazon text=A Fistful of Dollars&asin=B0007IK5WI](1964), [amazon text=For a Few Dollars More&asin=B0007IK5W8](1965), and [amazon text=The Good, the Bad and the Ugly&asin=B0001EYT2A](1966).
Today, the urbanization still attracts residents of note including a world famous Opera singer, several artists, classical music conductors, authors and business moguls.
Refurbishment and Modernisation
A complete refurbishment was undertaken in 1992 over a period of 18 months. Only the roof and walls were left standing along with the large trees on the property, everything else, including the garden soil was replaced whilst carefully preserving the architectural characteristics in keeping with the original design. The list of materials used in the refurbishment is extensive to say the least with Greek, Portuguese & Spanish marble, Onyx from Pakistan and Oak & Burr Walnut all sourced specifically for the refit.
The property as it stands now is of 600m² construction on 4150m² plot with an extensive list features:
- 4 bedrooms including a separate apartment
- 4 en-suite bathrooms and guest WC
- Fully modernised kitchen
- Dining room
- 3 living rooms
- Wine cellar/Bodega with space for 800 bottles of wine in a climate controlled environment
The exterior of the property and the grounds have been maintained to an excellent standard, including automatic electric gates with video intercom, full CCTV throughout the property, multiple private terraces with entrances directly from the living quarters and bedrooms leading out to spectacular sea views.
The property also includes a rockery and rose garden, a croquet lawn, an outdoor wet bar & entertainment area, BBQ, an orchard, vineyard and even a tropical greenhouse.
There is wi-fi throughout the entire property with its own internal digital telephone exchange and phones in each room, centralised entertainment system providing CD, radio, terrestrial & satellite.
The property includes a fully functioning well and 30,000 litre water tank (eliminating water bills) whilst still retaining access to community water supplies with a water softening reverse osmosis filters. Solar heating for domestic hot water/pool and both a jacuzzi and a sauna.
This property is currently for sale for EUR 2,200,000 (Approx USD 2,339,744 | GBP 1,545,436)
To arrange a viewing contact:
Avenida Juan Luis Peralta 42
Tel: +34 952 000 244
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