Architects: EQUIP Xavier Claramunt
Location: 07184 Calvià, Illes Balears, Spain
Architects: EQUIP Xavier Claramunt
Area: 5500.0 sqm
Project Year: 2009
Photographs: Adrià Goula
From the architect. The sea, the seashore, the trees approaching the shore... and the human being. We can imagine once upon a time when we humans were an active part of the harmonious life of the island, but now things have changed. The once agreeable relation between island and man has turned into a relationship arrogant control of the latter over the island.
Along the different stages for refurbishing and extending the Maricel Hotel, we have been pursuing a recovering of memorable and desirable original scenarios. On the first intervention we tried to make clear that the sea was there. Now, with this extension, the aim is to regain the trees and dry stonewalls that have been part of the environmental history of Majorca.
Regain the sea
Maricel Hotel was built in 1948 as one of the first hotels specially designed for tourists. Thanks to his privileged situation, it was easy to extend its facilities towards the sea with terraces as a giant’s stair to the water. On this stage, the building first opened itself over areas more related to these terraces and the sea, using a series of arcades to enlarge the basement and focus it on the rocky seashore. You enter the hotel and find yourself intertwined with a scenography of sliding doors and evading walls, rhythmically placed to allure the sea into the building. This new arrangement treats the sunlight in a way that triggers you to walk with increasing intensity towards the sea.
This first aim was to recreate an atmosphere not far from the little caves and rocky shelters that are easily found all over the Mediterranean coast. Make clear that the Mediterranean is there, through filters, terraces and the new orientation for the swimming pool. To regain the sea.
Regain the forest
The extension is to be built on two plots placed just in front of the original building. The main issues are how to connect across the public street, and how to deal with the urban surroundings. In that direction, the extension seeks to stress the importance of the original building as main entrance and to establish an access to the new areas capable of generating an alternative context to the existing urban development.
The new situation is rearranged as a valley that makes its way recovering the technique of the so call marjades, the terraces used on traditional agriculture activities in Majorca. Creating these new marjades, the valley moves ahead connecting the new areas to the main building. Dry stonewalls deal with the soil on how to settle on the new areas. Sometimes, they both agree simply with slopes, and the terraces that the main building uses as a solarium on its way to the sea, the valley sculpts the soil with marjades. Solid and vernacular dry stonewalls that give a desirable environment, detached from the constructions neighbouring the extensions.
Finally, we manage to stay just aware of trees and sky. Recovering the forest, the forest that grows along a dreamed brook driving us away from the sea. As a casual path, we walk on a winding course that turns here and there, carving the soil to allow entrance to the new buildings. We enter close to the ground but immediately we climb up those buildings, conceived as vantage points where to place the rooms oriented to the sea. To regaining the forest, and again the sea.