A Small and Simple Island Gem in the Mediterranean
This house on Spain’s Formentera island stands out for its conscious use of materials and respect for the environment
This small house on the Spanish island of Formentera, south of Ibiza, exemplifies some of the common denominators of architect Marià Castelló’s work: delicacy of form, respect for the environment and the conscious use of materials.
“The owner of the house is a childhood friend, a very Zen person with truly clear ideas who, after studying in Barcelona, decided to come back to Formentera,” Castelló says. “She told us the few things that were important to her and gave us free rein on how to handle them.”
Castelló says the owner asked for a 70-square-meter house that would include two bedrooms and a fireplace, and which would be built with special attention to its positioning within the environment.
“And although she did not say this expressly, we did notice her preference for natural materials and bioclimatic solutions,” the architect says. “I think the house echoes many of her values, which is not always easy or sometimes just does not happen.”
The house is divided into three strips. The most public area, the entrance porch, faces south; the living areas are in the middle; and the nighttime area is on the north side, with a bathroom and two bedrooms facing opposite directions — one to the east and one to the west.
In the central strip is the open-plan kitchen-dining area, pictured here.
In keeping with the owner’s interest in bioclimatic solutions, Castelló analyzed the prevailing winds on this part of the island to best use cross-ventilation to cool the house down in summer.
Likewise, the depth of the porch was precisely calculated to bring direct sunlight into the house in the winter but not in the summer.
The thermal insulating clay, pine, limestone and lime mortar were left unfinished, resulting in a breathable construction that adds a touch of warmth and comfort.
“The facade was made with a single sheet of thermal insulating clay that meets the need for insulation and breathability, making the house a much healthier and more comfortable place,” Castelló says.
The bathroom is between the two bedrooms. It has a north-facing window.
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