Project NameEs Pou. A house in Formentera.
|Project Name||Es Pou. A house in Formentera.||Location||
Located in Formentera’s countryside, the smallest and most laid-back of Spain’s Balearic island group, this compact holiday house was conceived as a reflection of the island’s low-key vibes, humble lifestyle and rural sensibility. Local architecture practice Marià Castelló drew from the local vernacular heritage and artisanal crafts to create a modern residence that nevertheless is imbued with Formentera’s authentic character.
Surrounded by wheat and oat fields, traditional dry-stone walls and groves of almond and fig trees, far away from the tourist-filled beaches and whitewashed villages, Castelló took advantage of the rural plot’s tranquil location to design a modest retreat in perfect harmony with the natural landscape. Inspired by the island’s vernacular architecture, the house is a low-key affair that is made up by three closely stacked, whitewashed, cubic volumes. The breakdown of the building mass into three parts neatly divides the interior into private, communal and outdoor areas, whilst allowing natural light and air to filter inside, and ensuring for a minimal visual impact.
The house is purposefully orientated along a north-south axis, with the two-bedroom volume on the north, the living-dining-kitchen volume in the middle and the covered porch on the south. As a result of this configuration, the bedrooms enjoy the coolest spot in the house, while the covered porch has the best views as well as functions as a shelter from the hot Mediterranean sun. A concrete platform-cum-patio in the front of the house allows occupants to soak up the sun in the summer, while the bathroom has been cleverly inserted into the liminal space in between the bedroom and living room volumes.
The interior design is underpinned by a muted colour palette of earthy tones and natural materials that echoes the rural landscape outside. Mallorca-style low-depth ceramic vaults in the ceiling and pressed terracotta floor tiles imbue the rooms with soft, warm textures. Terracotta tiles have also been used to design the bespoke headboards for the bedrooms and lattice walls for the bathroom, as well as used in crashed form to make the gravel that surrounds the building volumes and protect their flat roofs. Natural wood, featured in custom-designed built-in furniture, doors and windows complements the terracotta surfaces as do the green ceramic tiles in the bathroom which have been inspired by the local vegetation.
Minimalist in design and austere in décor, the interior is sparsely furnished with minimalist contemporary pieces, including dining and site tables from Castelló’s D12 collection designed in collaboration with Lorena Ruzafa for Diabla Outdoor, mixed with iconic pieces such as Torres Clavé armchair from 1934 and traditional chairs from Formentera that pay tribute to the island’s artisanal heritage. Scattered around the house, decorative sculptures from Castelló’s “Fragments d'Arquitectura” project are a series of ceramic and concrete pieces whose abstracted architectural forms and motifs are inspired by Formentera’s historical and contemporary architectural heritage.
With features such as natural ventilation, passive cooling and shading, and a rainwater cistern, the house is designed to be self-sufficient, further underscoring not only the project’s respect for the natural environment but its overall intimate connection with the island’s rural landscape and sustainability culture.