On Mallorca, a Hillside Home Captures Views With Strategically Stacked Boxes

On Mallorca, a Hillside Home Captures Views With Strategically Stacked Boxes

By Jennifer Baum Lagdameo
Floor-to-ceiling glass and clever angling allows this coastal home to frame spectacular views.

Located in Costa Canyamel, a coastal neighborhood on the Spanish island of Mallorca, Can Canyis is a residence set on a steep, rocky hillside covered in wild vegetation. The 2,600-square-foot home stands out because of its whitewashed facade and striking form—four stacked, rectangular boxes set on stone platforms that have been carefully inserted into a challenging site. These "glass-enclosed boxes" form the main living spaces, each capped with floor-to-ceiling glass that frame breathtaking views of Canyamel Bay.

"The placement of the stacked boxes and the space between them has been treated in a sculptural way—always considering the functional needs of habitability and the beauty of the house," explains Estudio Caballero Colón. 

Designed by Spanish architectural firm Estudio Caballero Colón, the four-story home is a mixture of modern and traditional Mallorcan architecture. The project was also recently honored with a 2019 Architecture MasterPrize award.  

Access to the four-story home is via a gently meandering path or an elevator from the lower level to the main entrance. "One of the main challenges was the slope of the plot," says the firm. "The complexity of the geometry forced a very detailed topographic [survey]." 

The home is made up of two layers of concrete, rectangular boxes that cantilever out over the site and sit on top of two lower levels. However, despite its experimental form, the home also employs simple, local traditions. The material palette comprises white lime stucco coating, a local sandstone known as marés, modern renditions of traditional Spanish cement tiles, and light pine planks.

Hydraulic cement tiles in the kitchen are presented in a "carpet-like" manner surrounding the kitchen island. The hexagonal tiles were designed by Reinpintado and manufactured by Mosaista. The custom millwork was designed specifically by Estudio Caballero Colón for this home. 

Marés, the traditional local sandstone, is popular in the region because of its low cost, and the fact that it is readily available throughout the Balearic Islands—but it is also aesthetically beautiful, adding a rustic quality to both the interiors and exteriors. A sedimentary rock, marés varies in tone, often with a light, earthy, pinkish hue. "There are five marés quarries on the island," says the firm. "It is used in popular architecture as well as traditionally in historic buildings like the Cathedral of Santa Maria of Palma the Gothic cathedral of Mallorca which dates back to the 13th century."

A spectacular view of the bay is framed by "infinity windows" in the living/dining room.

The negative space between the stacked volumes creates a web of sight lines throughout the home and toward the water. "This space is the authentic heart of the house," says the firm. "Light floods the entire space, and you have so many visual connections to the different spaces of the house. There are so many perspectives to the surrounding landscape."

The negative space is awash with light and shadow. 

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The home has three bedrooms and one guest room, all with ensuite bathrooms and stellar views. 

A sink located on lower level was installed as a place to wash off sand after returning from the beach—which is just a 10-minute walk away. The sink, wall, and flooring surrounding it are made of marés. Part of the flooring bears resembles to terrazzo; called "trespol," it's a mix of cement, marés powder, and small pebbles. Unlike terrazzo, the top surface of trespol is not polished. 

"You have so many visual connections to the different spaces of the house, so many perspectives to the landscape," say the architects. 

The firm was inspired by the simplicity of geometric forms and an exploration of spatial complexity.

The boxes are stacked at angles to frame distinct views.

The home also features a narrow, in-ground swimming pool which is illuminated at night.

Floor plan of the two lower rectangular volumes.

Floor plan of the two upper rectangular volumes. 

Related Reading: 

A Salvaged Apartment on Mallorca Leaves its Roots Exposed

This John Pawson-Designed Retreat in Mallorca Is a Minimalist's Dream

Project Credits:

Architects of record: Estudio Caballero Colón, Paula Caballero & Diego Colón de Carvajal  
Builder/General Contractor: Rosique Construcciones & Andreu Servera Garau
Structural Engineer Company: MD 44 S.L.P.
Cabinetry Design/Installation: José Narro
M&E Engineers: Acha y Blanco S.L.
Quantity Surveyor: Fernando Liesegang Moll

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