July 16, 2009

Manuel Fulleda Alcaraz, Casa de las Conchas/Shell decorated house

picture courtesy of Jo Farb Hernandez

This post ¹ is about a shell decorated house in the community of Rojales in the southeast of Spain, not far from the coast in the touristic area of Alicante

Life and works

Manuel Fulleda Alcaraz (1933 - around 2018) as a young boy already had to go to work to sustain the family's budget. When older he had several jobs for which no schooling is necessary, such as working as laborer in the construction of regional railways and in vineyards in southern France.

He succeeded in saving enough money to buy -around 1974- a house in the community of Rojales, in these years still at the outset of touristic development.

When retired in 1992 and making a walk on the beach of the nearby coast, he got the idea to use shells as a convenient form of maintenance of the exterior walls of his property. So he collected loads of shells and began decorating an exterior wall.

this picture and the next one (jan 2008) 
courtesy of Annieta (Flickr)

It became a project that would keep Fulleda active for some twelve years.

He not only covered all exterior walls with shells, which he arranged in various decorative patterns, but he also decorated the external staircases, an interior room and the various rooftop terraces.

The local authorities had no problems with regard to the decorations.

The Casa de las Conchas became a tourist attraction (it is located near another attraction, the Caves at the Calle Cuevas del Rodeo). And Fulleda himself, apart from being proud of his artistic creation, was satisfied by the level of protection of the walls the shells offer.

Fulleda has passed away, the house is for sale

On a touristic website it has been reported that Fulleda has passed away. The year in which this happened is not specified and official sources have no relevant info.

TripAdvisor has messages dating from 2016 that show that in that year the site still could be visited. Because such messages are subsequently interrupted, it can be assumed that Fulleda died after 2016.

The house was for sale, but it is not clear if it got a new owner.

* Series of pictures (april 2013) on the weblog of Wim Kuyps
* The site got a scholarly review in: Jo Farb Hernandez, Singular Spaces. From the Eccentric to the Extraordinary in Spanish Art Environments, Seattle (Raw Vision, SPACES, San José State University), 2013. ISBN 978-0-615-78565-3. An abridged version of this article is on the website of SPACES
* Article (August 2018) by  Caros Pastor, "La Casa de las Conchas de Rojales: quan tota petxina fa paret" (The 'Casa de las Conchas' of Rojales: when every shell makes a wall), on website Alicante Plaza

* Video (2013) by Wim Kuyps (Daily Motion); the part about the Casa starts around 2'18"

¹ when in 2009 I wrote the first version of this post, I could not trace biographical data; the data in this revised text, rely upon Jo Farb Hernandez' book (2013), referred to in the documentation.

first published July 2009, last revised December 2019

Manuel Fulleda Alcaraz
Casa de las conchas
10 Calle Cuevas del Rodeo
Rojales, Alicante, Valencia region, Spain
can be seen from the street


  1. What incredible patience it must take to do something as painstaking as this... like building a blog, one post at a time...

    And thank you too for your lovely response to the poem I re-posted. You were there from the start of this mad blogging adventure, and it is wonderful having your company. I'm not all that familiar with the Baie de Somme area, but we are planning a short trip there in September... will be looking around.

    Are you taking a bit of holiday this Summer ? Hope all else with you in Holland...
    Cheers !

  2. Sure, you need a lot of patience to do such a project of decorating a whole property with shells. The pictures in my post do not show that there is also kind of a tower, all shell decorated, so that makes the task even more painstaking.
    (Just sent you a personal e-mail with some remarks about where to stay (and eat) in the Baie de Somme area).
    All the best!

  3. There used to be a house completely covered in sea shells on a beach front in Bournemouth. It was nowhere near as beautiful or well done as he building in your pictures but everyone was sorry to lose it when the council knocked it down after the occupant died. Such a shame.

  4. Hi Jasmine, Thanks for the comment. May be you are referring to the shell house of George Howard in Southbourne.It seems to be the same story, a shell house at the sea coast, being demolished after the man who created the site passed away. But this one was demolished by decision of the family, not because of the community council. I wrote about that one some time ago. The argument to demolish it was continuing vandalism. Such vandalism, if true, would be a shame too, of course