This post was originally published on Inhabitat

Formentera-based Marià Castelló Architecture has become known for creating incredible homes that deftly combine contemporary design with nature-based inspiration. The firm’s latest project is the Bosc d’en Pep Ferrer, a family home that was partially built deep underground into the rocky terrain to use the landscape as natural insulation to reduce its energy usage.

home design made up of two white blocks

Local architects have used the natural beauty of Spain’s Balearic islands as inspiration in their home designs for years. In addition to the spectacular scenery, the island’s Mediterranean climate allows designers to use several passive features to create energy-efficient buildings that blend into the natural landscape.

home with one block volume sitting perpendicular to another one

home with two blocks set perpendicular to one another

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Located in the beach town of Migjorn, the Bosc d’en Pep Ferrer was built on a rocky landscape overlooking the expansive coastal views. Although the terrain would be normally considered a challenge for any type of construction, the team from Marià Castelló Architects used the rocky topography to their advantage, “burying” part of the home deep underground.

woman sitting on white walkway over rocky landscape

interior view of modern home with all glass walls

The underground floor of the home was created by digging an elongated cavity reminiscent of a stone quarry. The shape of the tunneled space is horizontal, which was strategic in providing a base to create several transversal walkways and hovering patios on the upper floors of the design. Walking up from the underground level, the home design features several indoor/outdoor spaces lined by natural rock as the main walkway leads up to the home’s main courtyard.

interior shot of home with rocky walls

interior room with single chair looking out over landscape

The upper levels of the home, which sit perpendicular to its underground base, are comprised of three light modules in cubical volumes. These bright white cubes with large glass facades give the home an undeniable contemporary feel, but once inside the light-filled space, an array of natural features speak to the home’s incredible setting.

modern interior space with wooden ceiling and flooring

small dinette set in large room

Throughout the open-plan living space, there are walls of sculpted rock, locally-sourced limestone, pine and fir wooden elements, recycled cotton panels and several more natural materials. Even the rocky gravel was saved from the excavation process to be repurposed into the outdoor spaces around the home.

two images: one of the view from a rocky landscape and the otherone with manmade structures built into rock

bathroom with natural rock walls

Using the landscape also allowed the home’s design to take advantage of several bioclimatic passive systems that not only insulate the home, but add substantially to its energy efficiency. Additionally, the Bosc d’en Pep Ferrer is equipped with an integral rainwater collection system that reroutes, collects and filters rainwater for reuse.

+  Marià Castelló Architecture