With the help of 3D laser scanning, Ensamble Studio excavates a quarry on the island of Menorca to create an experimental retreat.

With the help of 3D laser scanning, Ensamble Studio excavates a quarry on the island of Menorca to create an experimental retreat.

Three summers ago, architects Antón García-Abril and Débora Mesa went on vacation with their four kids to the Mediterranean island of Menorca. During their wanderings around the Balearic landscape, they stumbled on an abandoned sandstone mine near a local farm. Captivated by its material qualities—they conduct experimental research as principals of Ensamble Studio—they decided to acquire the land for an unusual excavation project. The architects wanted to convert the grotto into a place to live with the least possible disturbance, giving rise to Ca’n Terra, meaning “house belonging to the earth” in Catalan.

C’an Terra presents a stark and majestic interior both protected from and exposed to the elements. Here, a kitchen sink wedges into a rough-cut, sandstone platform.

Ca’n Terra presents a stark and majestic interior both protected from and exposed to the elements. Here, a kitchen sink wedges into a rough-cut, sandstone platform.

Photo: Ensamble Studio

Through October 31, Ca’n Terra is available to tour virtually through T-Space, the Rhinebeck, New York–based gallery established by the Steven Myron Holl Foundation. The digital tools that Ensamble Studio used to survey, draw, and document the site create a virtual exhibition even while the pandemic keeps most cultural venues shuttered.

“Our goal is to touch the space very gently, to add the necessary elements to make it inhabitable and therefore preserve it and give it new meaning and new life,” Mesa says. “It’s a project that found us. It’s something we came across; we found meaning in it, and once we saw it, it was probably the architect in us who just couldn’t ignore it.” 

A desk sits within a crevice cut into the rock.

A desk sits within a crevice cut into the rock. 

Photo: Ensamble Studio

“The island of Menorca is filled with these very porous stone quarries,” Mesa says. “We found one that was abandoned, and we just couldn’t refrain from purchasing the land where this quarry was and then intervening in it, without really having a reason behind it except that there was a lot of potential there to be worked with and to be explored.” 

A hammock hangs in a threshold between interior and exterior.

A hammock hangs in a threshold between interior and exterior. 

Photo: Ensamble Studio

See the full story on Dwell.com: An Abandoned Stone Quarry in Spain Becomes a Sublimely Minimalist Home
Related stories:

©











Loading...