July 16, 2009

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

picture courtesy of JFH

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

Born in 1933, Manuel Fulleda Alcaraz as a young boy already had to go to work to sustain the family's budget and becoming 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 and the next picture (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, laying these in various decorative patterns, but he also decorated the external staircases, an interior room and the various rooftop terraces..

Tha local authorities have raised no problems with regard to the decorations. The Casa de las Conchas nowadays is among the tourist attractions of the area. And Fulleda himself, apart from being proud of his artistic creation, is satisfied by the level of protection of the walls offered by the shells.

The property is for sale

When arrived in his early eighties Fulleda offered the property for sale (september 2014).

Documentation/more pictures
* 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, Seatlle (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
* video by Serflac (1'15", Youtube, uploaded febr 2016)

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 jul 2009, revised dec 2013, march 2016

Manuel Fulleda Alcaraz
Casa de las conchas
10 Calle Cuevos 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