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Compromised architecture. Mallorca, spaces for living and dreaming

May 2018 | Места | Mallorca

This small sample of the new architecture in Mallorca, which covers a range going from social housing to hotels, private homes or cultural and educational centres, gives an account of the architectural activity that takes place on the island every year.
  • Santa Ponsa House. SCT Estudio de Arquitectura. Ángel Sánchez-Cantalejo | © José Hevia
  • Suite. Hotel Son Moll Sentits. 3de3Arquitectes | © Gori Salva
  • School in Santa Margarita. Antonio Forteza | © Gabriel Ramón
  • Santa Ponsa House. SCT Estudio de Arquitectura. Ángel Sánchez-Cantalejo | © José Hevia
  • Lobby. Hotel Son Moll Sentits | © Gori Salva
  • Santa Ponsa House. SCT Estudio de Arquitectura. Ángel Sánchez-Cantalejo | © José Hevia

A wide range of building rehabilitations and new constructions, increasingly committed to the environment but also to design, are extending the interest of tourists not only towards the beaches, but also to the villages, the countryside, and everyday life.

Often, when one travels to an island, the architecture goes unnoticed, but in it, both classical and contemporary, the history of the world is told; materials and design leave a print on spaces and walls of nearly everything that is occurring at the time they are built: the obstacles and the freedoms. To confirm this, one can add a little bit of current affairs to the customary Mallorcan route and discover the sensitivity of the architects who are making their mark, both this year, and in recent years.


This work by Alfons Romero and Mireia Cabaní Massip is a school-restaurant with a useable area of over 5,000 m2, conceived as a reproducible module that allowed for the creation of broken volumetrics, with constant control over the height and minimising the impact on the area. It is a clean, transparent space that came into being on the basis of three basic demands of the client – sustainability, low maintenance and economy of materials – and one that came from the architectural team – acoustics. The space fully exploits the sunlight thanks to a system of motorised slats that provide protection from the strong summer sun and let the light in over winter. It was built using a skin system, with air chambers that serve as insulation, and all the rainwater is gathered in some large tanks and used for different purposes. And for the first time in Spain, a thermal solar panel system was integrated into the façades, to produce hot water. The materials used in them respond to the orientation, so the east, south and west façades are comprised of blocks, slats and openings; and on the rooftop and the north façade, sheet metal and blind cladding have been used. The materials on the exterior are simple, economical and free from all maintenance: exposed blocks, galvanised metal sheets and aluminium cladding. The inside is made up of a laminated wooden structure in warm, open-plan spaces, interior “skis” prevent reverberation and other acoustic problems that are common in large spaces such as this. 

Amadip Esment Fundació has been working since 1962 to ensure that intellectually disabled persons and their families can enjoy and improve their quality of life, and to provide them with the same opportunities as all citizens. It has a workforce of over 600 employees, approximately half of whom are intellectually disabled. Esment groups together commercial activities such as printing and stationery, restaurant and dining room service and organic farming, and its goal is to create and maintain stable jobs for people with support needs. 

House in Santa Ponsa
The basic conditions on which this beautiful house in Santa Ponsa germinated are the orientation, views of the sea and its implantation in a plot of land with singular topography, with one side leaning towards the sea. Added to this were other premises that SCT Estudio de Arquitectura had to bear in mind, such as having the main rooms face the south, and to achieve this, building them on the slope, which inclines in this direction. The result is a wooden box that is totally open and supported on a system of structural walls which also distribute the different interior spaces. The terrace rests on the volume of the ground floor. One of the porches takes advantage of the projection of the wooden box and a south-facing open-air dining and living area is created; the other one, which faces north, generates a space with covered access to the house.

On the inside, everything is organised around stairs which have a single flight and are perpendicular to the main street-sea axis. Around it a main circulation space is formed, from which the most important rooms are accessed. 

Hotel Son Moll Sentits

Son Moll Sentits is a hotel for enjoying the sun and beach, but it is also a space created to sharpen the senses and emotions of its guests. Because of this, each and every one of the spaces were designed individually, selecting the materials, the textures, the lighting and the colours with the utmost care. The result is a near-magical world, unique and elegant, which evokes the true Mediterranean essence. Located in the coastal town of Cala Ratjada, a small, traditional summer holiday town situated in the north-east of Mallorca, and on the front of the Mediterranean Sea, this privileged enclave is the core idea from which the project developed. 

In order to ensure that all of the spaces inhabited by the guests were facing the sea, and bearing in mind the irregular geometry of the plot it is built on, the result is a prism with a triangular base formed by volumes that develop around the perimeter which create an interior space of considerable size, based on which all the activities are organised. The breadth, shapes, mild and golden colours, and the lighting, make the access hall a near-oneiric transition space where it is easy to leave the routine chores behind one in order to immediately immerse oneself into the calm of the vacations. From then on it is all sea, sky and light; the restaurant, the corridors, the terrace, and above all the guest rooms, are a tribute to imagination and repose.

Designed by Arturo Vila, José Luis Pujol and Ignacio Pons, of 3de3Arquitectes studio, with the collaboration of interior designer Sara Espinosa, who was responsible for the design of the indoor spaces and selection of the furniture. The hotel has a useable surface area of 7,015m2, and 125 guest rooms.

Secondary school in Santa Margalida

On the outskirts of Santa Margalida, children in mandatory and voluntary secondary education enjoy a school with spaces and shapes designed exclusively for them, down to the last millimetre. Nothing was missed by the architect Antonio Forteza when he thought of the materials, the sunlight, the yards, the corridors and nature.

With the aim of adapting to the uneven terrain, the programme is distributed over several levels, which immediately catches the eye when observed from afar. The main access is on the lowest level, and the sports centre is on the same level. From here, one can access the hallway via a wide staircase in the same concrete that harmonises nearly everything. Once in the hallway, one can comprehend the project with a single glance. You see the two bodies that comprise the classrooms, the two schoolyards, the terraced hillock and, in the distance, the Serra de Tramuntana mountains. In the play area, ramps replace steps, a much safer solution for children to run around on; and they distribute all the spaces, especially the mandatory and voluntary secondary education building. On the inside of each building, a very wide, light central corridor distributes the classrooms and the workshops. There is no front or back, it is all main façade, but the classrooms have the best orientation. Both schoolyards – one of which is more uncovered and the other more enclosed – are connected by a pergola which is the prolongation of a ramp leading to the outside. A third piece containing the gym and the library rests on the circulatory space connecting the two buildings. The multipurpose room is located near the entrance hall, so that it can be used independently.

The grey colour of the concrete, the different heights, the pergolas, the ramps and the absence of main façade shape an ethereal place that seems to spring up out of the earth.