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Josep lluis SertJosep Lluis Sert and the GATEPAC Group

Josep Lluis Sert and the GATEPAC Group

Josep Lluis Sert i López (Barcelona 1902 -1983) is considered one of the most important architects of the 20th century and was one of the introducers of modern architecture in Spain. He was a son of a bourgeois Catalan family of textile industrialists, but socially committed and with democratic ideals.

In 1923 he entered the School of Architecture of Barcelona and was critical of the teaching methods of that time. Therefore, together with Josep Torres Clavé he founded the Association of Students of the School (1926), the embryo of the future GATCPAC (Group of Catalan Architects and Technicians for the Progress of Contemporary Architecture). Sert finished his studies in 1929 and moved to Paris, where he worked in the architectuire firm of Le Corbusier. From then on both of them maintained a close professional and academic relationship.

Paul Lester Wiener, Le Corbusier and Josep Lluís Sert

In 1930, Sert and Torres Clavé promoted the foundation of GATCPAC and in 1932 the GATEPAC (Group of Spanish Architects and Technicians for the Progress of Contemporary Architecture). In its first board of directors were the architects Rodríguez Arias, Illescas, Churruca and Alzamora, and later Subirana, A. Bonet and others joined aswell. This was the introductory group in the State of the modern movement of architecture, “the Nouveau Spirit” and the rationalistic and avant-garde tendencies. This group also edited the magazine A.C. (Documents of Contemporary Activity), published between 1931 and 1937, which constituted a platform of knowledge of the artistic expressions and diffusion of the new tendencies, aswell as architecture and urbanism, photography, visual and decorative arts, literature, gardening and furniture. GATEPAC has also been involved in the improvement of other areas, with proposals such as the construction of schools, the reduction of illiteracy and basically the modernization of the Spanish education system.

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Primeras publicaciones de la revista A.C. (1931-32)

Together with Le Corbusier and Pierre Jeanneret they presented the urban planning project for the city of Barcelona, according to the modern principles of the “Functional City”, better known as Plan Macià (1933-35). Josep Lluís Sert also projected housing, school buildings, hospitals, etc., always incorporating technical, formal and rationalistic language innovations. After that achievement, the government of the Second Republic commissioned to Sert the project of the Spanish Pavilion for the International Exhibition in Paris (1937), showcase and teaching about the values that the republic preached and defended.

Arquitectos del GATEPAC

After the Civil War, during which his partner Torres Clavé died in the front, Sert was judged by a military court that disqualified him to practice professionally in Spain. For this reason, in 1939 he settled in New York, where he collaborated with Paul Lester Wiener with projects in which he used prefabricated structures for the American war administration. With Wiener and Paul Schulz he founded the technical office Town Planning Associates (TPA, 1945-1958), which carried out important consulting on projects and urban designs, at the request of the United States government, mainly for Latin American countries. In the United States, Sert gained prestige and worldwide repercussion with his works and teachings. He is the first Spanish dean of the Harvard School of Architecture (Graduate School of Design – GSD) and president of the International Congress of Modern Architecture (CIAM).

In 1953 he was appointed director of Harvard’s architecture faculty as successor to Gropius, a position he held until his retirement in 1968. He began his second American career with his partner Ronald Gourley and became one of the most prestigious architects among the US Establishment.

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Left: Joan Miró and Sert. Right: Holyoke Center, Harvard University

The Ibizan Inspiration.

In Ibiza of the 1930s, Sert meets an original architecture, uncontaminated, efficient and with a beauty of simple forms and minimalist in its core. The Ibizan traditional houses appeared as an achievement of white cubic habitations with human scale, functional and almost without any decorative elements. An architecture without architects or plans, built by the peasants themselves, born with the materials provided by the land and, far from altering the landscape, these buildings merged with it. Described many times by Sert as an archaic technique that corrects mistakes and adds success until the result that it is today.

Both Sert and his fellow architects of GATEPAC found in these very ancient constructions a model to follow, a model to project the new architecture that they were developing and it was collected in the A.C. magazine.

 

These were lessons that Sert will never forget and the houses he builds from 1934 will incorporate multiple elements of the Ibizan Finca. Flexibility, juxtaposition of simple bodies in which repetition and difference combine, and unity of scale in composition and diaphanous interiors adapted to the unevenness of the terrain, which offer different possibilities of organization and room, will already be determinant parameters.

Sert wrote in 1934 that the Ibizan was an “architecture without style and without architects, geometric constructions simple, purely utilitarian, of an exemplary dignity, a rest for the eyes and for the spirit … all its elements have the right measure, the human measure”. Sert also sought to establish a dialogue between the rural architecture of Ibiza and some aspects of the new discipline, such as the use of the measurement system developed by Le Corbusier that gives human scale to this architecture. He wanted to perpetuate a language, a system of forms that had been in existence for centuries and adapt it to the uses and needs of the modern lifestyle.

Between 1964 and 1969, together with Rodríguez Arias, he designed and built the Can Pep Simó residential complex in Ibiza’s Cap Martinet area, which consists of 6 single-family homes and apartments known as Els Fumerals, a work in which he develops the concept he had always defended, the “contemporary equivalent of traditional forms”. As Sert himself explained: “In this urbanization we have used a measurement system devised by Le Corbusier called ‘modulor’, which is based on the golden section, a system that allows to maintain a human scale and obtain proportionality in all the compositional elements that, although they are repeated, always appear as different”. Like the Ibizan fincas, the houses of Cap Martinet are open constructions that accept extensions of many different forms.

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Urb. Can Pep Simó (1969)

The Documentation and Conservation of Architecture and Urbanism Foundation of the Modern Movement cataloged the urbanization of Can Pep Simó within the section ‘Modern housing’ and was declared of cultural interest in 2009.

After his visit in Ibiza in the 1960’s, Sert noted that things had changed on the island with the tourism and urban development. He then warned about the risks of landscape blending and destruction that threatened the island: “Introducing elements of imported architecture will destroy the unity and harmony that have survived over the centuries. Imposing a constant discipline of limitation to authentic forms works against Ibiza to remain what it is, something unique.” In fact, he was right. From the decade of the 1970’s the tourism development manifested itself in a large part of the local population in the forgetfulness of the old trades, among them, the secular wisdom turned in its constructions. The ancestors traditional house was changed for an urban apartment or an impersonal house and in great number the traditional houses disappeared or they turned into ruins.

After retiring, Sert was appointed professor emeritus and doctor honoris causa by the Harvard University. He also received an honorary doctorate from the University of Boston (1970) and from the Superior Technical School of Architecture of the Vallès (1981), and the Medal and Honorary Chair of Architecture Thomas Jefferson (1970), the highest professional decoration of the USA. In 1981 the Superior Council of Architects of Spain and the Generality of Catalonia awarded him with the Gold Medal of Architecture. In 1982 the Spanish government awarded him the Gold Medal for Merit in Fine Arts.

Josep Lluís Sert has been the most international Spanish architect in the 20th century. He left an indelible stamp as an outstanding theoretician, and as creator he left a legacy that remains an example to follow. Years after his death, Sert continues well present in diverse institutions, especially in the Architect School.

Sert died on March 15, 1983 in Barcelona. Due to the special significance that Ibiza had for him, he asked that his remains rest on the island and were deposited in the cemetery of Jesus, where a modest tile says ´Sert. 1928-1979´. But in this secular and humble epitaph half a century of magisterial architecture is enclosed.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

References:

González, Miguel Ángel. La Huella de Josep Lluís Sert en Ibiza. Diario de Ibiza.

Marí Torres, T. and Torres Torres, R. Grupo de Arquitectos y Técnicos Españoles para el Progreso de la Arquitectura Contemporánea (GATEPAC). Ibiza: Enciclopèdia d’Eivissa i Formentera.

Jiménez Díaz, Manuel. Sert i López, Josep Lluís. Ibiza: Enciclopèdia d’Eivissa i Formentera.

Havard University Repository. Sert, Josep Lluis, 1902-1983. The Josep Lluis Sert Collection: An Inventory. Special Collections, Frances Loeb Library, Harvard Design School.

 

It is possible that the pictures and the content reaches us through different channels and is sometimes difficult to know the author or the original source of the content. Whenever possible we added the author. If you are the author of any content (image, video, photography, text, etc.) and do not appear properly credited, please contact us and we will name you as an author. If you show up in a picture and think it impugns the honor or privacy of someone we can tell us and it will be withdrawn.

Kelosa Blog editors are not responsible for the opinions or comments made by others, these being the sole responsibility of their authors. Although your comment immediately appears in Kelosa Blog we reserve the right to delete (in case of using swear words, insults or disrespect of any kind) and editing (to make it more readable) or undermines the integrity of the site

 

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architect-rotthier-portraitPhilippe Rotthier. Guardian of Archaic Science

Philippe Rotthier. Guardian of Archaic Science

Philippe Rotthier was born in 1941. In 1964 he graduated with a diploma in architecture at La Cambre in Brussels. As a founding member, he collaborates with André Jacqmain at the Atelier d’Architecture de Genval from 1965 to 1972.

In his youth, traveled throughout the world, from the northern to the south hemisphere, also covering all types of islands: the Azores, the Canary Islands, Ireland, the Hebrides, Shetland Islands, Faroe Islands, Iceland, Greenland and the Bay of Disko. In all of them he focused on the type of constructions, their techniques and forms, which would later serve him for his studies.

In 1973, he settled in Ibiza, where he built and renovated 80 houses true to the style of the traditional architecture of Ibiza. As a result of his studies on the vernacular architecture and the traditional Ibizan way of life, in 1984 he publishes ‘Ibiza. Le palais paysan‘, a complete essay on the technical wisdom of traditional Ibizan construction, associated with mythology and the set of rituals involved. This work of observation and research is associated with his construction practice and the houses that he builds in Ibiza are an exception within the mega tourist structure of the 1970s and 80s.

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1. Port of Ibiza in the 70s (Photo: Biblioteca de la Facultad de Empresa y Gestión Pública Universidad de Zaragoza CC BY 2.0/ 2. Finca ibicenca Can Frare Verd (Foto: JanManu CC BY-SA 3.0 (Changes made. Link to original)

Philippe Rotthier also played an active role in the preservation of the architectural heritage of Ibiza, mainly through the Taller d’Estudis de l’Habitat Pitius (TEHP), which he founded in 1985. He also founded the European Prize for Reconstruction of the City in 1982 and the Foundation for Architecture in Brussels in 1986.

The houses in which the Belgian architect intervenes have been built according to the traditional techniques and his conception is oriented to give them a maximum of autarky. Rotthier became a specialist in the archaic house, being at the time one of the few architects of the Balearic Islands with the knowledge and maturity to build houses that were related to a thousand-year tradition.

finca-ibicenca-rotthier-frontside

© Kelosa | Ibiza Selected Properties

His personal style is practically invisible in the great majority of his works, even in those of new plant, becoming confused with simple rehabilitations of the ibicencan fincas. Despite this, its architecture seeks to bring together an archaic tradition and a modern way of life. Rotthier’s perceptible intervention is limited to a few subtle touches on the original finca, just enough to adapt it to a modern lifestyle home. These characteristic interventions of the Belgian are for example:

·Expand the size of windows and place skylights on the roof to allow greater light entry in the interior, since the original fincas tended to be somewhat dark inside.

·Increase the height of the ceilings in lower rooms, such as the bedrooms on the upper floor.

·Expand access between the rooms and open new doors to the outside, to create new terraces and open spaces, which adapts the house to a more modern Mediterranean lifestyle.

finca-ibicenca-rotthier-living

© Kelosa | Ibiza Selected Properties

·When it came to new plant construction, the size of the rooms in general was expanded.

·The plastering of some of his houses contain pigments of ochre and earth tones, which makes the construction appear even more integrated with the landscape. Others, however, are whitened with limestone just like traditional fincas.

·In case of intervening in the roofs, it was characteristic for Rotthier to resort to techniques of cane construction in the style of the Valencian barracks, the traditional constructions of the littoral and lagoons from the area of Valencia.

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© Kelosa | Ibiza Selected Properties

Rotthiers method of architectural design and production has been the subject of numerous publications, but three stand out: Maisons sur l’île d’Ibiza (1990), Architectural Architectures Ibiza (1997) and XXX à Ibiza (2003). These three publications are significant because they are not limited to describing Rotthier’s architectural discipline, but rather explain the background of an ideological movement that has its origins in the hippie counterculture, very popular among young people in Ibiza in the 60s and 70s.

At the beginning of the seventies in Spain the decline of the dictatorship coincides with the beginning of the mass tourism industry, where liberation and repression share the same scenario. At that time, particularly in Ibiza, the new mentality of social openness coexists with the latest manifestations of traditional culture and economy.

It was in those years that Rotthier, together with his friend the photographer Philippe de Gobert, carried out activities related to the Happening, the independent publishing, in an environment that supported the individual’s awareness of his natural environment. These were artistic and social movements influenced directly or indirectly by the positions of the ideas of May ’68, Allan Watts and Mircea Eliade, which advocate the use of the renewable energies and the rejection to the dominance of the use of petroleum and its derivatives, and nuclear power. Artists, writers, architects, photographers, filmmakers, among others, have surrounded Rotthier’s path and intellectual journey since the years he came to the island.

In a way, Philippe Rotthier “flees” from his native Belgium and the profession of architect as practiced at that time, and experiences in Ibiza a profound transformation in the conception and purpose of the profession. Fascinated at once by the beauty and correctness of the rural constructions of the island, he will first analyze with a scientific and ethnographic vision the reason for that fascination and then learn its rules.

 

traditional-ibizan-finca

Finca Ibicenca (Foto: Kelosa CC BY 2.0)

His own house in the 70’s will serve him as a laboratory and sets it on paper in one of the most complete studies that have been done of the traditional culture, habitat and rites of which it is the result. He will then put this knowledge into practice in new-build houses or virtually imperceptible interventions of ancient fincas, that would otherwise have probably been demolished by “progress” and replaced by the new concrete constructions of the 70s and 80s. At the same time, the Belgian architect devoted an increasing part of his time to disclose the qualities of the rural houses, as well as to defend the improvement of the quality of the semi-rural environments and the small towns of the island.

Rotthier went from personal fascination to social awareness. As explained in XXX à Ibiza, a different way of understanding architecture and the quality of life was needed in an environment in which, according to him, the past and the present collided in an inconsistent way, with great leaps and few continuities. In addition, the obvious border of physical space made it clear that the macro-social and economic situation imposed unsustainable pressure on the island’s soil.

Philippe Rotthier is the antagonist of the prevailing model of urban exploitation, with a strong opposition to the majority of the elements that define it. These principles were embodied, for example, in the traditional working method (which included a team of craftsmen), in preserving most of the old constructions, in a working approach established in terms of relation with the environment or in privacy as the main objective of the buildings – in contrast to the collectively significant and economically profitable.

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In addition, the Belgian builds a few and slowly. However, this little testimony contains more science than the contemporary production of the 70s and 80s. According to Rotthier, “you can not save time, you can not simplify or industrialize vernacular architecture.” The Ibicencan farms arise from the land, follow their movement and merge with the landscape. Built with the hands of the peasant who works the land, from which he draws the materials for the construction, which are also those that require minimal transport and minimal transformation of the landscape.

Rotthier has also been a catalyst spreading its action along with that of many collaborators and colleagues, travelers, natives, rural and urban, old and new witnesses. Numerous students of architecture made their apprenticeship with Rotthier, who has served as a support and encouragement for creativity and the diffusion of architecture and the arts, which is embodied in the Archives of Architecture Moderne (AAM).

The Belgian architect has done an important job for the preservation of the cultural and natural heritage of Ibiza, in promoting at a key time the awareness of inhabitants and, consequently, of politicians, by divulging and warning that excessive development would inevitably lead to overexploitation, and that would mean a dramatic end to the charm and beauty of this island.

finca-ibicenca-rotthier

 © Kelosa | Ibiza Selected Properties

The preservation of cultural wealth and the protection of the natural space of a place directly affects the status in the medium and long term of this place, while avoiding an overdependence of mass tourism, which, after all, is the less loyal public and a few big companies truly benefits from it. The most ‘content’ growth model that Ibiza has experienced since then has proved to be more substantial, presenting today record numbers of visitors year after year and establishing itself as a world reference destination for luxury tourism. After recognizing its potential, the key to success for an island with a very small territory has been to diversify and seek to raise the status of its visitors, implementing concrete policy measures such as limiting the new construction to five-star hotels. Today, tourism is even being promoted outside of high seasons and thus reduce the pressure of seasonality.

Since 2006 Philippe Rotthier has divided his time between Ibiza, Brussels and Polynesia, where, on a motu on the island of Tahaa, he built his own house with local materials (as could not it be otherwise). In 2011 he founded the Museum of Architecture – La Loge in Brussels, dedicated to contemporary creation.

 

rotthier-prize-2017

Rotthier Prize 2017

 

 

 

 

References:

Rotthier, P et Joachim, F. (1981). Ibiza. Le Palais Paysan. Eivissa: T.E.H.P./A.A.M.

Rotthier, P., Culot, M., Loze, P., Thiébaut, A., Breitman, M., Marí, B. et Mierop, C. (1984). Maisons sur l’ile d’Ibiza. Bruxelles: Archives d’Architecture Moderne

Rotthier, P., Culot, M., Marí, A., Planells, C., De Gobert, P., Marí, B. et Mierop, C. (1996). Architectures. Bruxelles: TEHP/A.A.M.

Rotthier, P. and Gobert, P. (2003). Treinta años en Ibiza, 1973-2003. [Sant Josep]: TEHP.

Oxford Index. Entry: Rotthier, Philippe. [online] Consulted: 15/12/2016

European Prize of Architecture Philippe Rotthier. Official Site. [online] Consulted: 10/01/2017

Archives d’Architecture Moderne. Official Site. [online] Consulted: 11/01/2017

Ferrer Abarzuza, A. (1974). La casa campesina de Ibiza. Madrid: Narria. [online] Consulted: 10/01/2017

 

Its possible that the pictures and the content reaches us through different channels and is sometimes difficult to know the author or the original source of the content. Whenever possible we added the author. If you are the author of any content (image, video, photography, text, etc.) and do not appear properly credited, please contact us and we will name you as an author. If you show up in a picture and think it impugns the honor or privacy of someone we can tell us and it will be withdrawn.

Kelosa Blog editors are not responsible for the opinions or comments made by others, these being the sole responsibility of their authors. Although your comment immediately appears in Kelosa Blog we reserve the right to delete (in case of using swear words, insults or disrespect of any kind) and editing (to make it more readable) or undermines the integrity of the site.

 

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Calo d'en RealThe Urbanisation Caló d’en Real. A Work by André Jacqmain in Ibiza

The Urbanisation Caló d’en Real. A Work by André Jacqmain in Ibiza

Caló d’en Real is located in the municipality of San José de la Talaia, southwest of Ibiza, between Cala Moli and Cala Vedella. The complex was founded in 1974 as a project among several Belgian friends, who bought the land that formed the plateau and assigned the design to architect André Jacqmain. The initial philosophy of Caló d’en Real was to be a community of family and friends, which meant for these first residents that the design of all homes had to be conceived by the same architect, thus establishing a unique style.

Before Caló d’en Real, the Belgian architect had already authored major projects between 1960 and 1970. Thanks to this, despite being usual that the client had the final say in approving a project, Jacqmain was taken much into consideration and therefore allowed to express and develop his ideas. This was not in vain and the architect finished granting this development with its own character, a unique concept in Ibiza and probably in the world.

A good example of the works at the time were backing the name of André Jacqmain is the famous Foncolin (1955), one of the first structures with exposed frames and a supporting facade composed of prefabricated concrete elements. Considered by many one of his masterpieces, being the result of a successful collaboration with the designer and interiorist Jules Wabbes. In this work architecture and design share the aspiration of innovation and quality. Today it is considered a formal manifesto of the technical architecture of the 50s, where cutting-edge technologies were accompanied by a strong quality and sophistication of materials such as precast concrete or facades adorned with oak and bronze railings.

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The Foncolin, Brussels

André Jacqmain (Brussels, 1921-2014) graduated at the Academy of Fine Arts of Belgium in 1944, where he followed the teachings of the great architect Henri Lacoste and from whom he inherited the boldness of the architectural gesture. The first phase of his career is dedicated to single-family homes, an area in which he reveals as the creator of some of the most original forms of his generation. Against the functionalist discourse that dominated at that time teaching and profession, Jacqmains work is distinguished by an aesthetic approach recognized by the execution and the high quality of the details.

In 1967 he founded the Atelier d’Architecture de Genval, whose freedom of conception will inevitably be a benchmark for generations of young architects. The Atelier Genval was also notable for having a philosophy of collaborative work, both within the team and with other firms and fields related to architecture; a reflection of Jacqmain himself and by these means delivered many buildings, representative of postmodernism in the 1980s and 1990s.

Around 1974 Jacqmain projected Caló d’en Real in Ibiza, where he also designed most of the houses. The residential complex consists of about 120 single-family homes, most situated on terrain inclination and directed towards west. Caló d’en Real is situated on a 18,000 m2 plateau, surrounded by sea and with a dominant vegetation of junipers, currently classified as green area. One can say that this plateau is a strategic location, dominated by the sea and with a great prominence of the sunsets, an ideal place for an imaginative, innovative and daring architecture, such as the Brussels architects.

 

Caló d’en Real

Most of the buildings are located in first and second line to the sea, with a design that is characterized by the breakdown of the volumes and the slight play of colours and shadows. These homes demonstrate a visual control to the sea and the advantage of outdoor spaces, where arcades and pillars are used to support sails that create the shades.

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© Kelosa | Ibiza Selected Properties

The interiors are simple, with spaces that demonstrate minimalism and cubism alike, a non-purist functionalism looking towards aesthetics. These types of spaces are considered ideal to combine different styles, volumes and abundance of decorative elements. Similarly, these type of interiors are versatile and allow a predominantly or more discreet personal decoration, highlighting the original architectural elements. They are dominated by large, airy spaces and access rooms, while a smaller area is granted to the bedrooms; although there are considerable variations in some houses, that depended on behalf of each client.

© Kelosa | Ibiza Selected Properties

André Jacqmain has put all his inventiveness to the use of light, thanks to his characteristic attention to detail and to the sites specific conditions. The front of the house usually opens to a large terrace facing the extensive sea views and sunsets. Some properties have the most spectacular location, bordering the cliff with a path leading a few meters from the house to the rocks by the sea.

Several architectural elements repeated in all buildings provide Caló d’en Real with an image and character. The Belgian architect’s imagination is admirable, noting the successful occupation of space and the harmonious relationship between interior and exterior. Some larger homes have a distribution alternating exterior and interior spaces, usually between living spaces and bedrooms, which are connected through corridors or rear terraces, sheltered from the wind.

© Kelosa | Ibiza Selected Properties

We can also see an increase in depth in perspective, with arches that are isolated from the established plans and create a kind of double facade over the buildings structure. The arches and columns that separate the first facade in turn act as a decorative element and further enhance the play of light and shadow.

From a formal point of view the design could be defined as the exploration of a modern version of the Kasbah, the citadel of Algiers and one of the great references of the concept of ‘Mediterranean architecture’. The homes are defined by complex volumes, with a cubist style that in some point reminds of the Bauhaus discipline. However, the original colors of these houses reveal an African architecture style, which in turn represent one of the origins of cubism. It has also received somewhat more subjective descriptions, defined in some articles as “a novel without a definite end”, “a long continuous history, designed to represent each day a different thread” or as “an organic whole dedicated to beauty”.

© Kelosa | Ibiza Selected Properties

An interesting combination of concepts and, at the same time, although in all homes a series of characteristic architectural elements are repeated, designs experience some variations both in distribution and in style. Jacqmain demonstrates pragmatism at adapting the request of each client with the overall style of the whole, as these particular desires, size and position of each house can vary considerably.

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© Kelosa | Ibiza Selected Properties

Having been a residential complex of Belgian family and friends for the first two decades, over time the second property sales has turned Caló d’en Real in a more cosmopolitan community. In addition to Belgians, today we can find, among others, German, Italian, Swiss, French and American residents, and its considered one of the most exclusive neighborhoods of Ibiza.

The work of André Jacqmain covers at least 60 years, through different periods and various streams. In Belgium he has been one of the representative architects of the innovative architecture of the second half of the twentieth century; apart from the Foncolin, he is recognized by works like the Urvati house, buildings at the universities of Liege and Leuven, the Belgian Pavilion at the Expo’70 in Osaka and, later, the headquarters of the European Parliament in Brussels, in collaboration with other architects.

Jacqmain explored the limits of modernism and has also been a honest and critic voice when, for example, he stated that technological change led to a depletion of the imagination, that the buildings ended up being the same in all places, and when he expressed concern that current architects didn’t know how to draw. Jacqmain style was defined by his deep faith in imagination, a gift that was attributed to him since childhood, and today he is considered an architect who has marked an era.

 

 

Sources:

Enciclopèdia d’Eivissa i Formentera. Entrada: Jacqmain, André. Enciclopèdia del Consell d’Eivissa [en linea]. Vol. XI (2012). [fecha de consulta: 8 de febrero de 2016]

Barluenga Badiola, Gonzalo (2013). Tema 4: Fachadas. Introducción a la construcción. Curso 2013-2014. Escuela Técnica Superior de Arquitectura. Universidad de Alcalá: Madrid. [fecha de consulta: 10 de febrero de 2016]

Duplat, Guy (2004). L’imaginaire d’André Jacqmain. Journal La Libre. LaLibre: Bruxelles. [fecha de consulta: 10 de febrero de 2016]

Calo d’en Real Owners Community Website. About Calo d’en Real. [fecha de consulta: 10 de febrero de 2016]

Kunstbus. André Jacqmain. [fecha de consulta: 10 de febrero de 2016]

 

It is possible that the pictures and the content reaches us through different channels and is sometimes difficult to know the author or the original source of the content. Whenever possible we added the author. If you are the author of any content (image, video, photography, text, etc.) and do not appear properly credited, please contact us and we will name you as an author. If you show up in a picture and think it impugns the honor or privacy of someone we can tell us and it will be withdrawn.

Kelosa Blog editors are not responsible for the opinions or comments made by others, these being the sole responsibility of their authors. Although your comment immediately appears in Kelosa Blog we reserve the right to delete (in case of using swear words, insults or disrespect of any kind) and editing (to make it more readable) or undermines the integrity of the site.

 

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Bruno ErpicumBruno Erpicum. Avant-garde Architecture in Ibiza

Bruno Erpicum. Avant-garde Architecture in Ibiza

Bruno ErpicumBruno Erpicum studied architecture at the ISASLB (Institute of Architecture Saint Luc Brussels) and in 2001 he created his current Atelier d’Architecture Bruno Erpicum & Partners. Erpicum has over 25 years of experience in architecture, during which he has won several awards including the Architectural BIFSA Awards (South Africa), the Eric Architectural LION Awards (UK), Prix de l’Urbanisme 2004 (Belgium), the BigMat International Architecture Prize (Luxembourg) and the International Space Design Awards Idea-Tops (China). Among its projects are mainly large residence villas, but also designs commercial buildings, museums, galleries and offices. His works can be found in many countries: Spain, Belgium, France, UK, Germany, Netherlands, Italy, Greece, Portugal, South Africa, Namibia, Switzerland, United States, Peru and in a number of several countries of the Caribbean.

villa ixos erpicum

© AABE -Atelier d’Architecture Bruno Erpicum & Partners / Photo: Jean-Luc Laloux

Bruno Erpicums architectural discipline is fundamentally minimalist and austere, although the size of space are usually considerably large. The particular style of Erpicum can receive many adjectives as personal interpretations may be varied. His own statements allows us to get closer to the objective reality represented by these works.

According to Erpicum, architecture should “disappear” and be as simple as possible to let the natural environment express itself and dominate [1]. The environmental context determines the essence of each project using materials found in the area and taking into account the conditions these materials are exposed to, their maintenance and installation conditions [2]. Marked by modesty and perfectly integrated into its natural environment, some works Erpicum are almost invisible in the landscape.

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© AABE -Atelier d’Architecture Bruno Erpicum & Partners / Photos: Jean-Luc Laloux

The environmental awareness is of first order. The buildings are established taking into account existing landscape elements. For example, the exteriors of houses near the sea hosts coast flora of the area, more adapted to the environment and reduce a possible visual impact. You can also say that the process and the design of his works are environmentally friendly, as it attempts to exploit the available resources of the land and avoid large transports.

                 © AABE -Atelier d’Architecture Bruno Erpicum & Partners

In the homes of the Belgian architect concrete dominates and technical skills are hidden in the building, inspiring serenity and silence. Erpicum explains, unlike what many think, concrete is a natural material composed of sand and gravel, that can withstand the power of the elements, maintaining its character [3].

A peculiarity of Erpicum is the use of architectural elements to hide the main overlooking views of the exterior at entering the house; according to Erpicum, “so that visitors discover the magic of the place as late as possible” [4] In addition, a house shouldn’t be oriented only to a single view, but be open to all horizons. Like, for example, a villa on the coast need rooms turning their back to the sea, in order to allow spaces that are more introverted and calm the view [5].

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© AABE -Atelier d’Architecture Bruno Erpicum & Partners

Erpicums architecture can also be considered as a meticulous cubist style, meaning that nothing that is seen in his works is there just because and many elements are due to an intention or adapted to the conditions of the previously existing terrain (or structure).

© AABE -Atelier d’Architecture Bruno Erpicum & Partners / Photo: Jean-Luc Laloux

One of his works in Ibiza is Can Durban, a fundamentally minimalist work that has been approached to the Ibizan traditional finca style, in an environment of ancient fields with old stone walls. The owner asked Erpicum to design his home into a modern version of an Ibizan country estate within the framework of these centenarian fields. In this work minimalism is found in the large windows, offering open views to the landscape, or in the airy interiors so characteristic of the style. Again, Erpicum has used previously existing elements: the patio is mildly sunken taking advantage of the unevenness of the terrain, which ensures that even with strong winds it remains a sheltered place, and the pool was built using the old pylon. Can Durban shows us combinations of several natural stone walls next to the concrete breathes, and it seems to have a warmer atmosphere to which the Belgian architect has accustomed us.

erpicum-ibiza-finca-interpretation (1)

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Can Durban © AABE -Atelier d’Architecture Bruno Erpicum & Partners

Bruno Erpicum is also the author of Infinity House, a more minimalistic work than the previous one. In this triangular volume built villa white extends all over the space, both exterior and interior, and governed by rectilinear forms that draw scenes in large horizontal spaces and towering heights. It’s a sign of serene and elegant minimalism, occupying a position in the landscape that faces away from the other houses and allows to open the horizon, making the most of what the place offers. The interior seems to merge into the landscape through large glass areas that allow a large influx of light and the prominence of the intense blue of the Mediterranean. Due to the dominance of the snowy white walls, throughout the day the sun’s movement causes changes in light and shadows acting on the atmosphere of the place.

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Infinity © AABE -Atelier d’Architecture Bruno Erpicum & Partners / Photos: Jean-Luc Laloux

The architecture of Bruno Erpicum is devoid of decorative attributes. However, when it is understood that the works are conceived with a predisposition to absorb the beauty offered by the site, it is understood that certain grounds are established to the home to be shown as something special, out of the ordinary. Every work is unique and yet you don’t have to be an insider to recognize his style. Entering the house, its easy to realize that the Belgian is a meticulous architect that finds an idea and an intention for every single room in the house. 

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© AABE -Atelier d’Architecture Bruno Erpicum & Partners / Photos: Jean-Luc Laloux

The Belgian architect stands out in his profession for many reasons, enjoying a reputation and therefore receives a large demand for projects around the world. Ibiza is one of the places where more projects have been built. Through our website, we present some of the villas by architect Bruno Erpicum.

 

Erpicums original quotes:

[1] The architecture should disappear and be as simple as possible to let nature express itself and dominate

[2] We must use friendly materials, create with local products while remaining attentive to the installation and maintenance conditions required by the geographical situation

[3] “Contrary to what many believe, concrete is a natural material made up of sand and gravel, capable of dealing with the power of the elements while maintaining its character.”

[4] “Hide the first view so that the visitor can discover the magic of the place as late as possible

[5] “You have to create rooms that turn their backs to the sea, spaces that are more introverted to calm the view

Bruno Erpicum, 2014.

References:

BigMat International Architecture Award (2013). Recuperado el 28 septiembre de 2015, de https://etsav.upc.edu/ca/noticies/9289

Atelier d’Architecture Bruno Erpicum & Partners (2013). Recuperado el 2 de octubre de 2015, de http://aabe.be/

SANJU, Maria. Bruno Erpicum reinterpreta una vivienda payesa. Decoesfera. 5 de agosto de 2013. [fecha de consulta: 3 de octubre de 2015]

It is possible that the pictures and the content reaches us through different channels and is sometimes difficult to know the author or the original source of the content. Whenever possible we added the author. If you are the author of any content (image, video, photography, text, etc.) and do not appear properly credited, please contact us and we will name you as an author. If you show up in a picture and think it impugns the honor or privacy of someone we can tell us and it will be withdrawn.

Kelosa Blog editors are not responsible for the opinions or comments made by others, these being the sole responsibility of their authors. Although your comment immediately appears in Kelosa Blog we reserve the right to delete (in case of using swear words, insults or disrespect of any kind) and editing (to make it more readable) or undermines the integrity of the site.

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rolph blakstad portraitRolph Blakstad. A Legacy for Ibizan Architecture

Rolph Blakstad. A Legacy for Ibizan Architecture

Rolph Blakstad (Vancouver, 1929) developed an extensive career before moving to Ibiza. At age 21 he studied art, medieval and Renaissance architecture in Florence, before his visit to Morocco, where he was inspired by his research on traditional Islamic architecture, craft design and subsequently the origins of Ibizan architecture, his most extensive research work. Before arriving in Ibiza, the Canadian architect worked in theater and tv as an actor, operator and scenographer, he also made documentaries on wildlife in Africa and worked as a draftsman of archaeological monuments for the British government. After settling in Ibiza, he was to found Blakstad Design Consultants in 1967.

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Rolph and his wife Mary first came to Ibiza in 1956, when the ship from Denia made a stopover en route to Mallorca. However, instead of following the initial travel plan, the White Island captivated them so they remained there until the end of their days. At that time the island lacked many modern luxuries to which they had been accustomed, but found a relaxed, dignified atmosphere and Ibiza had the deep cultural roots that both craved. Blakstads hunger for knowledge and interest in the ancient culture did not stop after establishing in Ibiza, quite the opposite. Rolph was not only was interested in architecture; his notes and studies extend into other areas like archeology, history, ethnology and even genetics.

After settling down in Ibiza and for the next five decades, Blakstad studied Ibizan constructions and especially Ses Feixes, which he initially related to ancient Egypt. His notes and drawings from the fields, which he drew in detail, allowed documenting how these wetlands were in the fifties and the evolution towards subsequent degradation. The Canadian architect talked to builders and took notes in order to preserve these traditional pieces and to rebuild a few returning them to their original state.

                                                         Representation of Ses Feixes in antiquity / Exposition: MOISÉS COPA

His research led him to develop the thesis that Ibizan country houses had their origin in the rectilinear homes of the Neolithic in the Near East. Blakstad traveled halfway around the world looking for architectural connections to demonstrate the roots of the Ibizan finca, leading him to the conclusion that it was a thousand year old architectural style. Despite successive invasions and a variety of civilizations that have populated Ibiza and Formentera, Blakstad said the architecture of the islands is the faithful replica of the Phoenician (or Carthaginian) constructions.

According to his theory, the preservation of these ancient buildings was related to the indifference of the leaders of the various invaders to the peasantry and their way of life, as to maintain the control over the island it was enough for these to stay confined in the citadel of Dalt Vila, by so the material essence of their culture was not changed nor Roman nor Byzantine nor Arabs.

To Blakstad there was no doubt that the original architecture of Palestine was the same as Ibiza, i.e., the Phoenician. Blakstad repeatedly described the Ibicencan as “people of Canaan”, since for him the roots were the same. His research allowed to find in Syria, Lebanon and Palestine archaeological remains corresponded with Ibiza rural fincas, whose construction also used savin junipers, among other characteristic elements of these ancient buildings. Blakstad even offered himself to the Palestinians to regain their orginal architecture, when he crossed the border separating Israel and Jordan in 1993, after the peace agreement between Rabin and Arafat.

After traveling around the eastern Mediterranean tracing similarities in the constructions, Blakstad reflected the results of comparative analysis in two publications: the ‘Guía de la Architectura de Ibiza y Formentera’ (in collaboration with the architect Elías Torres, 1980), and in ‘La casa eivissenca. Claus d’una tradició mil·lenària’ (published by Rolph Blakstad in 2013).

 

His works include all the information gathered by Blakstad to demonstrate the similarities of Ibizan architecture and customs with those of different places in the Middle East who share Phoenician and Carthaginian roots. His travels and his texts have sought to support the thesis that traditional Ibizan architecture stems from the occupation of the Phoenicians and Carthaginians and buildings had hardly changed in more than two millennia of existence.

Finca Can Cala © Blakstad Design Consultants

Rolph Blakstad’s passion for Ibiza’s rural architecture, its origins and ancestral customs, he devoted much of his life to a complete historical-typological study. However, although he was the son of an architect, he never graduated in architecture even though this was his great passion. For this reason, as his son Rolf explains, Blakstad was for long a discordant voice, but nowadays more and more experts agree with his theories.

Once the granddaughter of the famous architect Walter Gropius, founder of the Bauhaus school, asked him, “Tell me, Mr. Blakstad, what is, your kind of architecture?” He replied, “I look for the baby that your grandfather let out.”

The interest and discipline that Rolph has pursued also differ from those of his friend the German architect, Erwin Broner. Broner, who lived in Ibiza since 1936, was part of the Bauhaus since before World War II, and approched Ibizan architecture with Bauhaus design concepts and modern materials. The Blakstad style, however, could be described as a continuation to Ibizan traditional contruction, trying to “retain the value of the valuable in cultural tradition, which can be applied to modern life.” It is, Rolph’s approach could not have been more different from that of his colleague Erwin.

In some of his works can be seen in a sought the roots of oriental aesthetics, while for others he had chosen to highlight the style of Ibizan architecture:

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© Blakstad Design Consultants

The interior designs of the Canadian architect were conceived to improve the disadvantages of the traditional finca. That meant, above all, an increase of light and space:

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In 1967 Rolph Blakstad founded Blakstad Design Consultants. His studies became the basis of his research, design and construction for over 40 years. Rolph extensively studied Ibizan architecture, when it was still an ancient tradition who lived with the peasants builders, whose rules were transmitted orally from father to son. Similarly, today his sons Rolf and Nial run the business representing the family tradition, after their father passed away in 2012. A living tradition that adapts to changing circumstances, but which is still based on the lines and forms of the local construction of the island, from ancient tradition. The works of Blakstad Design Consultants have been adapted to the needs and technologies dictated by the modern lifestyle, but always faithful, from the architectural point of view, to the historical conditions that their father so much had been researching, studying and documenting.

Rolf and Nial Blakstad are still working on the restoration of Ibizan fincas and building new houses. Today, the illustrations of their studies and their implementations have a major impact on green building practices and environment integrated construction.

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© Blakstad Design Consultants

One can say that the name Blakstad in Ibiza is synonymous with beautiful and distinctive designs, strongly influenced by the historical architectural bases from the island, combined with an authentic style of personal interpretation. An air of comfort can be perceived by visiting any villa built by Blakstad, probably because of the intellectual, emotional and intuitive approach to their work.

 

 

 

 

References:

MESTRE, Bartolo y TORRES, Elias (1971). Guía de Arquitectura de Ibiza y Formentera, islas Pitiusas. Disponible en: CuadernosArquitecturaUrbanismo.

Its possible that the pictures and the content reaches us through different channels and is sometimes difficult to know the author or the original source of the content. Whenever possible we added the author. If you are the author of any content (image, video, photography, text, etc.) and do not appear properly credited, please contact us and we will name you as an author. If you show up in a picture and think it impugns the honor or privacy of someone we can tell us and it will be withdrawn.

Kelosa Blog editors are not responsible for the opinions or comments made by others, these being the sole responsibility of their authors. Although your comment immediately appears in Kelosa Blog we reserve the right to delete (in case of using swear words, insults or disrespect of any kind) and editing (to make it more readable) or undermines the integrity of the site.

 

 

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