ZEST ARCHITECTURE Modern Sustainable Design

ZEST architecture is an architecture studio in Barcelona. We work for private clients and developers in Spain and the world over. We build private homes, boutique hotels, housing developments and other projects both large and small. The architects of our design studio all speak English and we are fluent in Dutch, German, French, Chinese, Catalan and Spanish as well.

We are experts in sustainable architectural design and Passivhaus, but we also restore stone ruins and listed buildings. We also work as interior design studio and our services include landscaping and pool design.

With the utmost care, ZEST crafts spaces that feel welcoming, warm and luxurious, for happy living and healthy working. Committed as we are to quality and excellence, ZEST works with only the best builders and suppliers, to achieve projects that are truly breathtaking on time and on budget.

We provide a turnkey service, taking care of absolutely everything from developing the first idea, designing the building to getting permissions and managing the work on site. Still looking for a property or terrain to invest in? Guess what: we offer a property finding service.

WE ADVISE YOU FROM THE START Pre-design services



What clients say about us

We were delighted to be working with Co Govers and her team at ZEST architecture on the redevelopment of our estate in Barcelona province. From the start we were impressed by the team’s vision, knowledge, responsiveness and attention to detail. I would have absolutely no hesitation in recommending ZEST architecture. [Jonathan, UK]

Co and her team at ZEST are exceptional. Importantly for me they spent time getting to know us, in order to understand our requirements. As a result they’ve designed an exceptionally beautiful home for my husband and me. They held our hand every step of the way and filled us with confidence. Absolutely recommended. [Nicola, Sydney]

Co Govers and her team really listened to our needs and wishes and were full of ideas for spatial solutions and materials that really made our house special, combining practicality with truly noble materials. The works were supervised with great care and the project was delivered on time. And all of us really love our new home! [Isabel, Barcelona]

Get in touch today and convert your dream to reality!

Call +34 932 18 66 22 or email info@zestarchitecture.com


The latest news in Zest

Do you have any questions?

Why work with a professional architecture studio?

Whether building from scratch or renovating an existing building, involving a professional architecture studio is the only way to make sure that what gets built is exactly what you imagined, and that what gets built is a good investment. The role of the architect is a lot more extensive than people realize; although there are firms that may just provide you with design drawings and a building permit and that’s it, a good architecture studio will manage every part of the process from start to finish, to ensure that your investment is safe and secure, building costs don’t explode, and the work is executed according to what’s agreed.

How do I know what it will cost to build my house?

At ZEST architecture we kick start the design process with a study called the Vision & Strategy review, where we carefully analyse what the wishes of the client are, the opportunities and limitations of the site, and the applicable regulations. With this we produce a report, that also contains a conceptual budget for the build and an overview of all the other costs involved in the build. So before you even sign a contract with your architect, you will already know what it all will cost.

What is the cost of hiring an architect to design our house?

Typically, an architecture studio charges a percentage of the projected building for their design. At ZEST architecture we have different design packages, depending on the level of service the client seeks. Some clients are good at understanding 2-dimensional plans and elevations, but others prefer to have the entire house visualized in 3D before anything goes ahead. We tailor each design package precisely to the need and budget of the client.

What services does your architecture studio offer?

We are a full service firm, that offers turnkey projects. This means that we manage every part of the process from start to finish, obviously including all permits and construction documentation. Apart from architectural design, we also offer landscape design, interior design, structural engineering & quantity surveying, and project management. Sometimes our work starts with helping the client find the plot to build on or the property to restore, or researching the feasibility of a particular project.

Does your architecture studio make sure the building costs are not higher than what we agreed to?

This has everything to do with our process. Because we analyse carefully what needs to be designed, we avoid the necessity for costly changes to be made at a later stage. When our Quantity Surveyor draws up the Bill of Quantities, which serves as the basis for the building contract, the client has already agreed on all the details of the design and on all the materials. Therefore, the contract will be for a fixed sum. Only the things that the client may add later (and this does happen sometimes) can cause the contracting sum to change.

Does your architecture studio work outside Barcelona as well?

We work in all of Spain, including Mallorca, but also in the Netherlands and Portugal. The main office of our architecture studio is in Barcelona, but our clients are from all over the world. We have a thorough and proven process to communicate with our clients, and to lead the team of professionals that works on each project, including contractors and engineers. In all cases we provide the utmost quality, being famous for the precision of our design documentation, and for our rigorous supervision of the execution.

What kind of materials do you use?

At ZEST architecture we are specialized in using materials that integrate well in their surroundings, age beautifully and even contribute to your health where possible! Often we use natural materials such as stone, clay, rammed earth, wood, lime plaster. We love how those materials have an aspect that means you never tire of looking at them. Over time they acquire a patina, and a building made with such materials becomes more beautiful over time, contrary to buildings made with materials that are super perfect at the beginning, then get dirty and damaged and look tired. We also take into account the fire safety of both the building and façade, using insulation materials such as cork, that are non-flammable.

What does sustainable architecture mean?

At ZEST architecture we believe that in order for a building to be sustainable it must use a minimum of energy for heating/cooling/lighting, be made of materials that are a responsible environmental choice and be designed in such a way that the building ages well and can have a lifetime of over 100 years.

We are engaged in constant research to update our knowledge of materials and processes, and where necessary we undertake to educate those involved in executing our work so that this knowledge is passed on, in order to improve the sustainability of the construction industry.

What types of projects is your architecture studio specialized in?

ZEST architecture is specialized in high end residential architecture, boutique hotels and any architecture that needs a “think outside the box” approach and where the objective is to create something truly special, preferably with respect for the planet.

We have trouble communicating with Spanish estate agents. Can you help us find a property to restore?

Yes, we also have a property finding service. We work together with the best real estate agents, in order to offer clients who are abroad the option to locate the property that best suits their needs.  

Do you handle building permits and licenses?

ZEST architecture takes care of everything. This means we do indeed handle building permits and licenses, but also, if necessary, your connections to mains water and electricity, the installation of renewable energy, the selection and purchase of your furniture. We can even enrol your children in the local school for you. We love making things easy for our clients.

Does your team supervise the contractors during the building of our house?

Yes, at ZEST architecture we take pride in the precision and care with which we make sure the contractor executes the design. We work only with the best builders and craftsmen, and supervise the works from the moment we break ground until the moment you move in. When the house is delivered, we make a meticulous overview of all the little details that still need seeing to or adjusting, and make sure it is all done before you move in.

Does your architecture studio help us find a plot to build our house on?

We do indeed offer a property finding service to those clients who are abroad and/or find it hard to communicate with local real estate agents.

What professionals are part of the team of your architecture studio?

At ZEST architecture we have a very comprehensive team, that includes architects, interior designers, landscape designers, structural engineers, HVAC engineers, Passivhaus engineers, and quantity surveyors.  

Does your team include landscape architects?

Yes, we have landscape design skills inhouse, but we also have landscape architects in the network of professionals we cooperate with on some projects. We are specialized in the design of waterwise gardens, that are comprised of species that survive the climate of where the building is located, without needing much care or water.

Does your architecture studio select building companies and negotiate contracts?

We do indeed. We make an inventory of candidates suitable to build your project early on in the design phase, and meet with each of these, if we don’t already know them, in order to visit some of their completed projects, to make sure the quality they offer is suitable for a ZEST architecture project. We request all contractors to provide contracts that include comprehensive guarantees for our clients, and that are based on the Bill of Quantities drawn up by our Quantity Surveyor.

Can you make 3D visualisations that help us understand what the finished project will look like?

Certainly. We can make simple 3D visualisations that are like a 3 dimensional drawing, but also visualisations that are almost like a photo of the finished project. And it’s even possible to make a video walk through, which allows you to walk through the building and really see what it feels like.

How long does it typically take to build a new house in Spain?

The actual build of a house typically takes about 12 months (less for houses that include construction systems such as Cross Laminated Timber, or wooden construction, which both speed up the process substantially. To the time it takes to build you need to add the time it takes to design the house (3-4 months), get the building permits (depending on location this may take between 3 and 8 months) and the tender process (count 3 months).