Architect: Andrés Jaque Arquitectos
Location: San Jose, Ibiza, Spain
Project team: Jorge Ruano, Alessandro Armelini, Guido Brandi, Teresa del Pino, Borja Gómez, Alejandro Martín Maté, Leandro Morillas, Pedro Pinto-Correia, Karin Rangel, Alberto Rey, Adeline Ruiz, David Segura, Natalia Solano
Construction Management: Andrés Jaque, Jorge Ruano, Juan Boo
Psicological Consultant: Pablo Hurlé
Services: Nieves Plaza
Budget & Mesurement Consultant: Calle 51
Furniture: Luis García Fraile
Design year: 2007
Construction year: 2008-2009
Photographs: Miguel de Guzmán
In spite of the story of an Ibiza that has been Institutionalised as an alternative to the boring, alienating, Industrialised West -a story that has been successfully exploited as a product for the global consumption -the commonplace isla experience is generally somewhat more complex. The pilgrim’s Ibiza is not such much a space for the new social foundations as a place where it is possible to experience rationality, a linear optimization of the functions and morals of the middle working class, as the same time as the erotics of desire, erratic drifting and daily recreational experimentation. That is the Ibiza which is generally been experienced by the ‘new settlers’ on the island since 1967; and which has been made possible with the help of their residential constructions.
The House in Never Never Land explores the role played by architecture, as a practice of technological restitution of social relations, in assembling spheres of intimacy together with those of group actions and other in which the images of desire are produced. It explores the way that the design of the material systems used as a basis for every day experience can help us allow this to happen in different areas; in the island’s environmental richness; in the quality standards of European cities; in the hedonistic tradition of Santa Monica’s suburban swimming pools; in the ‘extreme happiness’ related to electronic music and synthetic drug consumption; in nudism and naturism; in fleeting romance; in spontaneous sunset parties, in the fluctuations in the property market or in retirement plan.
This operation starts with a 1300m2 sloping allotment, entered at the top from a small roadway. In the Cala Vadella valley, there is a picturesque natural harbour where pleasure craft tie up in search of fragments of Ibiza as it was before the tourist boom. From the ground on this hillside with a 20% average slope and a north-west aspect, one can see the sun set across a landscape with few buildings and continuous vegetation cover, the habitat for respectable diversity of animal life and suitable base for migrations. The house is designed as a system of materials mediators that allow the commissioner’s day-to-day Activities t be installed in this environmental setting, in his spheres of desire (and his everyday ‘perforation’) and future secure scenarios.
This proposal imposes the need to preserve the qualitative continuities of the valley’s natural base in the building to the grates possible degree. Primarily: 1. – The continuity of the arboreal mass (which contains animal habitats and migration corridors, playing primary role in the establishment of the atmospheric conditions that permit the life forms found in the association with the trees; also contributing to the mechanical reinforcement of the understorey). 2. – The continuity of the run-off and the permeability of the soil. 3. – The continuity of the water system, avoiding any sort of input to the understorey via irrigation for filtering in order to hinder the potential emergence of invasive species. 4. – The maintenance of the cycles of matter (the substrate is fees of transformations in order to allow the organic matter to rot and close the cycle.
The design feeds in the continuities by means of four decisions: A.- Minimizing tree and shrub removal or pruning an the allotment. The design work began with Phase 0, consisting of the close scrutiny and mapping of every tree and shrub. The geometries of the project were then adapted correspondingly and the construction was inscribed in the space available between the trees, which thus flow through the building interiors. B.- Raising more than 80% of the building mass on piles to avoid any sort of disturbance to the ground ( paving, crops, watering or other input) which might eventually alter its properties, the way it works or the sort of association that the plant and animal communities now have with the soil. C.- Clustering all the waste filtering and treating equipment, as well as the water tank, into a compact reinforced concrete vessel, preventing them from acting as ‘requalifying’ agents in the valley. D.- Compensating for the amount of substrate affected by the foundations and this compact vessel by including an equivalent mass of substrate in various parts of the skin around the building, mixed with water-retaining gelatine to produce the moisture of the original soil in shallower conditions. After an adaptation period, this mass of substrate, incorporated into the building, will became the habitat for a mass of plants and animals that will match the area removed on account of the construction work.
The house should allow states of interpersonal cohabitation and association to emerge, in which what is feasible interacts with what is desired. To manage this goal, a combination of two strategies was chosen after weighing up for several options. 1.- Problem infrastructure: instead of defining the house as the spatial crystallization of existing cohabitation models, we decided to generate a rarefied, controversial area in a building which would nevertheless be highly changeable; a space that is polarized by two practically identical rooms with a multi-purpose living room between them. The usual spatial organization of a hierarchical microstate (e.g., 1.-master bedroom, 2.-second bedroom, 3.- guest room), is replaced with a warped or controversial formula, witch, on its own, cannot successfully provide a direct manifestation of a canonical cohabitation model in the form of spatial organisation. So on one hand, constructive cooperation on the translation work by the users is necessary, while at the same time, any previous microsocial organization will be challenged by the experimental resolution process. It would be challenged in the sense that a door remains open to the input of data from the world of desire. 2.- Living amongst alternatives: the buildings have also been designed as a parliament of architectural devise that have proved to be effective as promoters, involker, representatives or testimonies of desirable reference ordinarinesses.
The swimming pool as a device for making a connection with the horizon. It is also a phenomenological layers which encourage dilettante contemplation. Both are contained in the suburban revision of the Californian surf culture. The plane raised off the ground, present in the imaginarium linked to J.M. Barrie’s Peter Pan, is an escape from the regular planning of education and unitary organisation of our work time; an intermesh of human and plant structures, an ever-present theme in naturist narratives and all sort of derivative cultural products. The fee plan used as a model which optimises the programmatic availability of space. The outdoor room as a laboratory for life without air conditioning, present in most idealizations of what is known as the “Mediterranean lifestyle”. The master bedroom for bedins for peace, for example. The house is equipped to be able to ‘sleep wherever you happen to close your eyes’, or the house as a friendly landscape. Café del Mar, or sunset chill-out, space for undisputed interhumanization. The shower as a promise of furtive romances, like the numerous advertisements and descriptive examples generated by the audiovisual porn product industry. The assembly-kitchen, ‘the party starts with a group of cooking experience’. The speaker-room taken from the dance club tradition, a sound space built as an echo box. And, amongst many other ideas, the cabin taken from ‘shutting out the world’, like the one owned by Heidi’s grandfather in the Austrian Alps. Hence our decision to call it House in Never Land. Because that is also the ground that the house has been built on.