LOCATION: Minorca, Spain
PROGRAM: Single-family house
SIZE: 210 m²
TEAM: Alicia Casals, Karl Johan Nyqvist, Jennifer Méndez, Mira Botseva
PHOTOGRAPHER: Joan Guillamat
Stepped House is a nature-informed villa consisting of four identical rectangular volumes stepping down a steep terrain on the island of Menorca. The house features locally sourced limestone, earthenware vaulted ceilings and sandy-colored masonry and concrete, all blended into a mélange of soft airy tones. The façade keeps a solid-glazed equilibrium and uses heavy high thermal inertia materials, essential to ensure stable temperatures in mild-hot climates. Plenty of sheltered and sunny outdoor spaces invite users to gather and withdraw on balmy days, while protecting glass from direct sun radiation. Other sustainability strategies include natural crossed-ventilation, ceiling fans and photovoltaic panels on the roof.
Set over two floors, the house contains 3 spacious bedrooms, a double-height living room, a very generous outdoor terrace and a salt-chlorinated pool. Each bedroom has its own private terrace with views of the surrounding lush landscape and the Mediterranean sea.
The daytime area is a single open-plan space, flanked by the kitchen on one side and framed by an arbor for alfresco dining and lounging. Duplicated functions such as indoor and outdoor living, dining and kitchen strengthen the ambiguity between exterior and interior. Large full-height sliding doors set in aluminum frames allow abundant natural light to brighten up the interiors and merge them with the scenery. Additionally, strategically-placed horizontal window slits enhance diagonal sightlines and create awareness on the pace of time and its changing light.
The use of matte finishes, raw surfaces, tall ceilings with exposed concrete beams and ceramic vaulted ceilings create a coherent sequence of spaces of varying proportions. Wooden doors and cabinets introduce a warm accent to an otherwise calm-colored palette. The bathrooms combine hard and soft materials, such as white tiles with terracotta-colored joints and wooden cabinets that tie back to homogeneous material use throughout the house. Neutral finishes along with exposed materials showcase natural textures that blend into a sustainable low-water garden.