ArchDaily | Broadcasting Architecture Worldwidethe world's most visited architecture website

Sign up now and start saving and organizing your favorite architecture projects and photos


Find the most inspiring products for your projects in our Product Catalog.


Get the ArchDaily Chrome Extension and be inspired with every new tab. Install here »


Nominate now the Building of the Year 2017 »

  1. ArchDaily
  2. Projects
  3. Community Center
  4. Spain
  5. Inès Vidal Farré
  6. 2009
  7. Sant Mateu Social Centre / Inès Vidal Farré

Sant Mateu Social Centre / Inès Vidal Farré

  • 01:00 - 7 May, 2010
Sant Mateu Social Centre / Inès Vidal Farré
Sant Mateu Social Centre / Inès Vidal Farré, © Pep Toni Roig Roselló
© Pep Toni Roig Roselló

© Pep Toni Roig Roselló © Pep Toni Roig Roselló © Pep Toni Roig Roselló © Pep Toni Roig Roselló +15

  • Architects

  • Location

    Sant Antoni de Portmany, Ibiza, Spain
  • Architect

    Inès Vidal Farré
  • Technical Architect

    José Ignacio Jorquera Hervás
  • Engineer

    Javier Colomar Riera
  • Builder

    FCC, Fomento de Construcciones y Contratas
  • Developer

    Consorcio de Recursos Sociosanitarios de Ibiza
  • Exterior Walls

    thermoclay 24-29 cm, air 2cm, oak cork 2.5cm, ceramic brick 6cm, gaps.
  • Roofs

    oak cork 2.5cm as thermic isolation, cellular concrete, rubber as water insulation, water (approx. 15cm) as thermic stabilizer, air, clay, paving slabs and soil on which plants can grow
  • Project Year

  • Photographs

From the architect. The building is set on terraces, like those built by local farmers to prevent earth from being washed down the hillsides. An important priority has been to design a public building with the same materials used by islanders over the centuries for their farmhouses, and in adapting the local landscape for agricultural purposes.

© Pep Toni Roig Roselló
© Pep Toni Roig Roselló

The traditional Ibizan house is often set partly into the ground in close contact with the soil. This is an architectural tradition that has grown out of relative poverty, and at times even hunger. Until the 1960s the island was one of the poorest parts of Spain.

For this reason, the entrance on the north side is little more than a gap in the surface of the stone wall, with flat roofs on which grass or vegetables may be grown by the parish priest (the owner, so to speak). The main intention is to let the building blend in with the surrounding fields.

On this side two courtyards are set into the rock, bringing light and fresh air into the building.

© Pep Toni Roig Roselló
© Pep Toni Roig Roselló

Following common sense the building faces south to receive plenty of sunlight. A possible excess of this is regulated by sliding shutters and porches. The west-facing sun, an inconvenience in these latitudes during the summer, is deflected thanks to white walls, which also divide the outside terraces into various spaces.

The Social Centre has a distribution area in the middle that serves as a hall, and where the reception desk, post office and waiting room for medical attention is found. This hall leads directly to several other rooms, namely classrooms, a canteen and an assembly/function hall, which is provided with two large sliding doors that when open enlarge the space as far as the south terrace, where a large amphitheatre provides sufficient room for special meetings in which the whole village can take part.

With regard to ecological construction, there are two main areas of interest in this project: energy efficiency and ecological materials

© Pep Toni Roig Roselló
© Pep Toni Roig Roselló

This is based on a level of thermic insulation much higher than that found in a normal building:

Almost every room in the building is illuminated with natural light.

Cross ventilation is guaranteed from the courtyards.

Artificial illumination with ceiling downlights.

The boiler (gas-based) is of the condensing type.

In the canteen, the washing-up unit is bithermic.

Rainwater is collected in a roof cistern, and topped up whenever it rains.

© Pep Toni Roig Roselló
© Pep Toni Roig Roselló

PVC plastics have been avoided, being a product of the chloride industry.

Pipes and all other fittings which require plastic are of polyethylene and polypropylene, easily-recycled plastics.

Asphalt has been avoided in water insulation.

Water insulation is either layers of polypropylene or natural rubber in the flooded roofs.

© Pep Toni Roig Roselló
© Pep Toni Roig Roselló

For thermic isolation natural cork has been used. Its efficiency is higher than other petroleum-derived insulation materials, and is also recyclable and biodegradable.

Doors, window-frames and other pieces of carpentry are made out wood. We have stipulated that these carry Forest Stewardship Council certification.

Paints are mineral-based and non-acrylic.

© Pep Toni Roig Roselló
© Pep Toni Roig Roselló
Location to be used only as a reference. It could indicate city/country but not exact address. Cite: "Sant Mateu Social Centre / Inès Vidal Farré" 07 May 2010. ArchDaily. Accessed . <>
Read comments


Brian Baltin · June 02, 2012

Sant Mateu Social Centre / Inès Vidal Farré | ArchDaily via @archdaily

Xavier · January 31, 2011

The building looks well solved but I believe the siting is specially well done. Sinking the architecture into the slope and opening its public spaces into the exterior is a very sublte and accurate answer. In general, the project's intentions can be read clearly.

Nevertheless, I got the impression that in materializing the project, the cunningness of the ideas are lost. I speak for the way rocks are handled in the access from the street. I believe using more horizontal rocks would have been more apt to the project. Furthermore, tiling the roof gives the idea of an accesibility that doesn't exist. I think earth would have been a more aestheically apealing solution to regulate the heat from the sun.

Good project anyways.

Nicholas Patten · May 07, 2010

Nicely Designed: Sant Mateu Social Centre.

shetu · May 07, 2010

I used to draw plans like this one in my second year.
Solving the plan only hardly makes good architecture.
Consideration behind the selection of materials is praiseworthy.

shetu · May 07, 2010

I used to draw plans like this one in my second year classes.
Solving the plan only hardly make a good architecture.

up_today_arch · May 07, 2010

Nice solution for Ibiza, I'v been there, and not enough new building on the island, especialy good style. Nonsymmetric plan and one floor level are most clouse to Ibiza landscapes...


Comments are closed

Read comments