This is a home/office was designed by Marià Castelló arquitecte on the Formentera Island, Spain. ‘Es Pujol de s’Era’ is a very characteristic tract of countryside in the interior of Formentera. It comprises some 33,000 m² of wheat and barley fields and a bushed area with savin, rosemary and juniper, set in a topography that is almost flat. This was to be the location of a space for living and working. The building, a strictly geometrical structure of 12 x 12 metres, nestles between the existing vegetation and a remnant of a traditionally crafted drystone wall. The wall establishes the alignment of the building on the site. Similarly, an old ‘cistern chapel’ determines the longitudinal axis.
This architecture seeks contextualization by way of interaction with the surroundings, echoing the traditional Formentera architecture, yet avoiding mimicry. The north-south orientation of the design creates the duality present in the program: the separation of public activity from private life. The architectural studio is located in the northernmost part, which is also the most exposed side. Natural northern light floods the space throughout the day. The priority with this space was to avoid any sense of confinement. The architect did this by opening up one of the walls to draw the natural surroundings inside.
The house was planned as a refuge; it opens up fully to the south in search of the sun, as well as pursuing maximum interaction between interior and exterior. From indoors, the small wood is perceived as a natural garden needing no alteration or upkeep whatsoever, and giving considerable seclusion and privacy. A nucleus of services is set between the studio and the house, physically separating work and private life yet providing shared elements of ‘infrastructure’: library, filing system, bathroom, kitchen, beds, cupboards, machinery and two sliding partitions which enable the two main zones to be separated, partitioning off spaces that require privacy the most, such as an adjoining office or a room for guests.
In this way a degree of flexibility has been achieved. A slight staggering of the elevation along the perimeter gives the impression that the building is hovering above the ground on which it is set. This effect represents the transition or frontier between the architectural intervention and the original, organic features. The envelope is made of coated thermo-clay blocks and reinforced concrete; an extruded section is the only part of the building that involved ‘wet’ construction.
The rest of the interior and exterior walls were dry-built, using glass and iroko wood. The side openings present as incisions slicing the facade open from top to bottom, fragmenting the east and west elevations and giving them a less massive appearance. The ‘auxiliary’ elements and the furniture were designed following the exterior image and with the same materials used for the ‘dry’ interior spaces, thereby contributing to the pursuit of greater simplicity and harmony.’