CLIFF-TOP HOUSE IN VALLDEMOSSA

TOTAL REFORMATION OF A COASTAL CLIFF-EDGE HOUSE IN THE UNESCO WORLD HERITAGE SIERRA DE TRAMUNTANA. THIS PROJECT INVOLVES THE COMPLETE RESTRUCTURING OF A OLD-FASHIONED TRADITIONAL STYLE HOUSE IN A SPECTACULAR POSITION ON THE EDGE OF A 300M SHEER CLIFF. THE NEW PROJECT OPENS UP THE INTERIOR, ENLARGES THE HOUSE AND RE-FOCUSES THE INTERNAL SPACES ONTO THE SURROUNDING LANDSCAPE.
The site covers a roughly triangular part of a clifftop facing west along the Sierra de Tramuntana, perched 420m above sea level. The previous building, a narrow box, stood close to the cliff-edge facing onto the closest point of the precipice. This made the building seem both disconcertingly exposed, and uncomfortably narrow, its living spaces pushed against the cliff.
The design strategy focused on re-orientating the building along the cliff-top, maximising both the depth of the internal view through the ground floor and giving the garden an impression of spaciousness and distance from the cliff edge.

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PROCESS
The project reused the previous structure, and part of the facade stonework, extending the building to the NW and SE.
The angular geometry of the W facade both breaks up the building’s volume, and provides different views from each of the internal spaces.
 
THE BUILDING
The ground floor is opened up, connecting different areas and enabling views of the horizon from the far end of the house.
Facing East: The new diagonal axis enhances the feeling of spaciousness, with an internal view of almost 20m across the ground floor.
The existing building has been substantially enlarged, adding to the structure of the existing house, to give accommodation which takes full advantage of the site, the views and the environmental conditions.
The internal accommodation on two floor levels, provides an open-plan living floor plus four en-suite double bedrooms connected by a concrete spiral staircase to the basement utility and services area below.
The new entrance extension is softened by the slanting angle to the street, the sloping eave and rounded corner.
The open plan allows both morning, midday and afternoon sunlight to illuminate the main ground floor space. Significant structural modifications were required to remove central columns.
The new stonework, an essential planning requirement, is tied into the previous stonework on the north and south facades. Balustrades and sheet ceramic window reveals give sharp definition to rough stone edges. Large shutters and windows slide within the wall thickness.
The site is within the UNESCO World Heritage area, consequently the sensitive urban planning factors have been carefully weighed in order to gain consent from the Consell de Mallorca besides the Townhall.


The materials have been selected to withstand the significant conditions of exposure which affect the cliff top site, both extreme winds and intense glare from the Western sun over the sea
 

THE CLIFF-TOP SITE FACES WEST ALONG THE SIERRA DE TRAMUNTANA COASTLINE

The new East facade with entrance from the street. The mass of the two storey extension is reduced by the slope the eaves down towards the street and the curved corner.

The West facade is re-aligned along the cliff top, following the angular contour of the the cliff edge.

The facades are built from local limestone.

The diagonal view from the entrance hall. The east and west extensions serve to lengthen the internal space, enhancing the sensation of spaciousness on the ground floor.

The open-plan kitchen and dining area.

The groundfloor spaces are realigned along the axis of the existing pool, helping to connect internal and external spaces as well as facing the ground floor away from the nearest section of cliff-edge.

Minimal interiors and fitted wardrobes together with angled walls focus the views from each bedroom onto different parts of the surrounding landscape and sea

The new concrete staircase, built in Italy.

sustainability strategy

Water
Rain water is now harvested and collected in two large new rain water deposits
Technology
State of the art, high-efficiency boilers, together with roof top solar panels, supply hot water for underfloor heating
Passive Design
New openings to the South brighten and warm the spaces in Winter. The large western openings are shaded by either sliding timber louvres or rollable blinds.
Insulation
The new roof and internal dry-walling have been highly insulated to modern standards. Entirely new window carpentry incorporates low emission glass and built in shutters.

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HARRIS ARCHITECTS & DESIGNERS

C/ Santiago Rusiñol 5, Palma de Mallorca, Islas Baleares

Phone : +34 654 492 272

Email : sebastian@harchitects.com

CONTACT US

9-18h (Spain) Monday to Saturday

TEL : +34 654 492 272

sebastian@harchitects.com

 

C/ SANTIAGO RUSIÑOL 5,

PALMA DE MALLORCA

ISLAS BALEARES