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Country House Morna Valley
Ibiza, Balearics, Spain
DeBlacam & Meagher
18 Jun 2009
Photography : Peter Cook
The house shown here is on the southern facing slope of the hills facing into the Morna Valley in the centre of the island. This is the principal house on an estate which has a second smaller house for guests.
Ibiza was founded 300 B.C. as the first colony of the Phoenicians, followed by the Romans, Arabs and eventually the Spanish monarchs in the Middle Ages. Ibiza has a unique form of indigenous architecture. Dwellings are based on cubes and their repetition, double, triple etc. in plan form and single or double in section. Important houses have porticos or collonades to indicate entry and for drying crops. These groupings of cubes are placed on terraces (bancales). Almost the entire island is terraced in this form, consisting of dry stone walls holding flat terraces, planted with three basic trees, Almonds, Olive and Algerobe (with black beans to feed livestock). This form of terracing was developed to provide a unique form of irrigation for the trees and crops. This site consisted of terraces (overgrown with pines) and one very large terrace on which the house was placed.
The house is based on 3.6m cube in plan and section, constructed of RC columns and beams, infilled with precast beams and terracotta ceramic blocks (semiriguetas and bovedillas ceramicas). The walls are stucco on ceramic blocks or aluminium framed glass. The floors are white marble and exterior terraces white limestone. The pool has a painted white finish. The furniture, light fittings and landscaping were designed by the architects.
The house is planned so that all rooms can have a cross draught if required, day and night, to obviate the need for air-conditioning. Rainwater on primary roofs and terraces is collected and stored in large cisterns under the pool terraces. Olive trees are the only “new” plants introduced to the site.
Internal floor area 275 square metres, swimming pool 25m long. The whole project, design, building, restoration of terraces, landscaping was completed 2002-2008.