by Jerry ElengicalSep 21, 2022
Located in Spain's Palma de Mallorca, Project Gomila is an urban renewal project that looks to transform the historical neighbourhood of El Terreno, located in the city of Mallorca, Spain. MVRDV and GRAS Architects proposed an assemblage of buildings, each with its own individual characteristics, coming together to form an urban setting which intersects dwellings and public spaces. The residential architecture project consists of seven buildings, each highlighted with its own distinctive colour and material. “Project Gomila is an exciting architectural project—each of the seven buildings can stand alone as its own individual design, and yet at the same time they are also carefully considered as an ensemble that gives Gomila a fresh boost,” says MVRDV founding partner, Jacob van Rijs.
Along with providing private and public amenities for the residents, the mixed-use masterplan is centred around its urban plaza. The plaza extends along the city’s harbour, which is both iconic and of historical significance to the city. The Fluxà Family, owners of the Mallorca-based Camper shoe brand, purchased a series of neighbouring plots around the Plaza, providing land for the urban intervention. The project aims to revive the city’s once-famous cultural fabric—a former hub for artists, clubs, and nightlife.
Out of seven, five of the residential buildings have been completed, as part of phase one. This includes the primary building, the Gomila Centre, a renovation of a 1979 design by Spanish architect Pere Nicolau. It is surrounded by existing dwellings, and new construction which includes sets of blue row houses and an apartment of red townhouses—Las Fabri-Casas and Las Casitas, respectively. Adjacent to the Plaza Gomila, stand the green and yellow coloured buildings called La Plaza and Casa Virginia.
All programs proposed within the buildings are mindfully curated to create an interactive fabric. The Gomila Centre, heart of the neighbourhood features on its ground floor a spacious patio, with a restaurant, office spaces, and apartments—rising around this central feature, in a series of stepping terraces and balconies. The red townhouses, known as Las Casitas, are topped by rooftop terraces, allowing neighbouring residents to socialise together. The Las Fabri-Casas, are a set of row houses with a saw-tooth roof, completed with blue ceramic façades. Located behind this is a low-carbon apartment building, constructed of compressed earth blocks with a communal rooftop swimming pool that offers views of the nearby Bellver Castle. Across the street on the Plaza Gomila is the green-coloured La Plaza, a renovation of an existing building that hosts a revival of the historic bar Bellver, offices, and a communal rooftop with views of the bay and the cathedral.
The project is designed to inculcate Passivhaus (passive) principles, sustainable design strategies such as high thermal efficiency, and passive climate control measures like shutters and cross ventilation to reduce energy needs. Other strategies include the addition of solar panels to rooftops to utilise the sun hours of Mallorca, while heat recovery systems further reduce the buildings' energy consumption. This makes each building energy neutral, and the selected sustainable materials add to reducing the carbon produced during construction.
Following the architect's intention to recreate a Mediterranean arena, Project Gomila stands as a kaleidoscope of programs, materials, and colours, which come together to create an alternative understanding of what urban design can mean. The sustainable architecture project curates a space amidst the existing one, without seeming as a jarring intervention, and coalesces the ideas of old and new, iconic and contemporary. “In terms of urbanism, the concept revolves around the diversity of the buildings…where some of the designs are more suited to family homes, others are more suited for apartments for singles or couples; where some buildings are fully residential, others bring commercial functions into the mix. This diversity of people and spaces will help bring back El Terreno’s lost vibrancy,” relays MVRDV founding partner, Winy Maas.
The following phases of the project will add two more buildings to the ensemble: a yellow Casa Virginia, and a small villa next to the Gomila Centre—both renovations of existing neighbourhood buildings.
Name: Project Gomila
Location: Mallorca, Spain
Architect: MVRDV + GRAS Reynés Arquitectos
Lead Architect: Winy Maas, Jacob van Rijs, Nathalie de Vries
Team: Jose Ignacio Velasco Martin, Jonathan Schuster, Samuel Delgado, Mathias Pudelko, Marek Nosek, Jonas Andresen, Alicja Pawlak, Simone Costa, Ranmalie Mataraarachchi, Carl Jarneving
Contractors: Ferratur, Bibiloni, Tarraco