Unique location on the top of a mountain, 200 metres above sea level, with sweeping views of the Bay of Palma de Mallorca and the Sierra de Tramontana. A rugged natural setting of "living" rock, offering a unique 360-degree panorama.
The views, the physiognomy of the mountain, the visual impact of the project and the privacy desired by the client determine the design of the houses.
The breadth of the views is breath-taking, overwhelming. The visual reach is so large that it is necessary to set a 'frame' to contain it and reduce it to the domestic scale of the houses. The design of the houses opts for an extreme, radical horizontality that emphasises this frame and this "limitation" of the view.
By designing the houses together, twins but not identical twins as they share the same concept but are slightly different, the horizontality is accentuated even more, since the houses blend into each other and present themselves to the landscape as a single construction. A large concrete slab rises out of the mountain as if it were a fold in the living rock projecting into the emptiness of the valley. On the concrete slab, living rock and nature. Under the concrete slab the houses, set back from the edge of the slab, creating a continuous horizontal shadow, a crack, a fold in the mountain.
The project should not only look from the mountain to the city. It is important, even a responsibility, to analyse the relationship between the city and the mountain and to give an appropriate response to the impact the houses will have on the mountain. The strategy described above is the right one, as it involves embedding the buildings in a single horizontal layer that, from a distance, forms a continuous horizontal line in the shade. It has also been made with materials that correspond to the physiognomy of the mountain, i.e. concrete and stone in shades that match the existing rock of the mountain.
One of the factors that most influences the architectural design of the two villas is the height of the building. That's why we opted for a kind of half-buried courtyard, with only one floor rising from the ground level. Therefore, the materials chosen are the local stone found in the area, and concrete, an indigenous architectural material, as the structure comes out of the ground.
The horizontal construction has allowed us to design the programme according to the position of the sun, the angle of view and the need for privacy. The living area is characterised by great visual permeability, with its large floor-to-ceiling windows that break through the mass of the building and form an architectural telescope to the panorama, scenically framing the view.
The interior of the villas is fully glazed, with 3-metre-high windows that reach into the corners, erasing the boundary between indoor and outdoor spaces.
The design makes the most of natural light and ventilation, creating shade in summer so that air conditioning plays a secondary role. High-performance insulation is another element that reduces the environmental impact of the house.
Stone, endemic flora and shadow give way to glass, light and synchronous space.