Skene Catling de la Pena

Hidden House (Mallorca, 2011)

The clients – a sculptor and a writer - found a phenomenally steep and beautiful piece of land in Formentor, on the northern tip of the island of Mallorca. The purchase included planning permission for a house. The excavation for this house carved a large quarry-like void into the hill, radically altering the inherent qualities of the steep mountain site. The client abandoned the permitted scheme and although the quarry was environmentally problematic its tall rock face struck all of us as stunning. A radical response was required. Instead of butting the new building against the exposed rock face as the earlier plans proposed, a freestanding volume was created, spiraling down from the upper point of arrival and leaving the quarry wall rock face completely exposed. This presence visually defines the building‘s interior. Strands of green make up a final layer, tying the structure back to the landscape along the profile of the original topography. This shading system will act as a blurring device. Over time the building will disappear and the old mountain will seem to reemerge.

Skene Catling de la Pena + FAR frohn&rojas

Project team: Charlotte Skene Catling, Marc Frohn, Jaime de la Peña, Mario Rojas Toledo, Max Koch, Theodora Bowering, Amaia Orrico, Tomoaki Todome, Danielle Rosman, Samuel Chisholm, Jordan Hodgson, Cecilia Susca, Vanessa Perry, Roo Humpherson, Massimo Sean Pepe, Ulrike Stier, David Wischniewski, Steven Vidovic, Katharina Laekamp, Oliver Claussen, Isabell Chua, Ruta Jakštaite, Lukas Mersch

Consultants: Structural Engineers: Price & Myers (UK), Fernando Purroy (Spain) Mechanical and Electrical Engineers: Downie Consulting Engineers (UK), 3E Engineers (Spain), Project Manager: Miquel Bauza LF91, Jaume March