In Mallorca, a House with Four Patios

It may look simple, but it was far from it.

The assignment: Build a five-bedroom, five-bath, year-round family home overlooking the sea at Cala d’Or near Mallorca, protected from the sun and exposed to the breezes.

The solution from Barcelona’s FlexoArchitectura:  Configure a living room as a large outdoor space under cover in the summer, with winter views from a bay balcony for views over a harbor.  And open up other rooms to four patios, one on each side, avoiding direct views to those all around.

“We responded offering two specialized floors, the upper one for winter time and the one below for spring-summer time,” says Tomeu Ramis, architect with the firm.  “Collective areas are oriented toward the sea, and private areas to the patios, which allow a direct relation to the southern sun.  Windows are linked to the patios, and not to the neighbors.”

This house occupies a small site with a steep from road to sea views, none of which matches the best solar orientation. The house is situated at the top of the site, freeing up a garden area open to the views.

A compact volume is pierced by four specialized patios —terrace, drying area, playground and garden — to provide cross ventilation, optimal sun exposure and natural lighting, all of which make the best use of the slope.

A basement floor with living area, kitchen and other spaces make up the “summer house” linked to the pool, while the first and second floors conform to the “winter house”.”

“They’re both connected by two staircases,” he says.

The firm used a simple construction system of ceramic bearing walls, steel pillars and concrete slab floors, with traditional local materials like plaster painted white on the exterior façade.

“It favors the reflection of light in the patios,” he says.  “And the bamboo on the porch of the bay balcony is easily replaceable and locally manufactured.”

It may sound simple, but in fact, it’s quite the elegant solution.

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