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Puig d’en Trias

A church in the clouds, floating above an island.


Sat like a fortified cathedral on the top of a hill, Puig d’en Trias is a home of monumental proportions that still manages to respect the surrounding milieu. None of this is a fortunate accident, but the fruit of an exhaustive effort that honours the island’s traditional vernacular, safeguards its precious landscape, and fuses together the architect’s deeply-held convictions about collective harmony. Influenced by the island’s architectural past, the design of the house also stands as a model for a more sustainable future. Taking an initial request to build a large home inspired by the much smaller traditional Ibicenco finca, Jaime Romano looked to the larger dimensions of the island’s historical structures instead – Ibiza’s churches. Following a study of the Puig de Missa church in Santa Eulària des Riu, the architect took further inspiration from the smaller churches in the towns of Sant Mateu and
Sant Santa Agnès de Corona. The result emulates the thick-walled, ecclesiastical architecture which has long characterised the timeless skylines of the island’s north. The south-facing façades seem to stare even further back in time to their Phoenician roots, with nods to the forms of ancient Egyptian Mastaba. Despite conspicuous echoes of grandiosity, the house remains a remarkable feat of integrated architecture, projected both onto and over the landscape.

Arriving through a cloistered interior atrium, the home’s entrance is grounded by a more modest ambience of peace and protection. Shaded by a tall gomero (ficus) tree and the musical trickle of a carp pond, this interior space straddles the sleeping and living quarters to moderate temperatures during both cooler and warmer months.

This is also the first hint at the house’s deliberate use of duality. Inside, this dichotomy becomes more apparent in the soaring heights of the living room, where semicircular arches transition from the monumental into the smaller, more domestic realm of the bedrooms. Other clues to duality come in the form of vast windows at the base of the building and smaller, higher-set windows that draw inspiration from the island’s defensive vernacular. Drawing its source of distributional logic from the outside, a ‘strategy of views’ sees a series of sequential rooms that take full advantage of the vistas of forested hills and the sea below.

The garden is deeply respectful with the landscape. From afar, the house seems almost immersed by a forest of pino alepensis, the local species of pine that traces back to the Syrian city of Aleppo. Up close, the stone-garrisoned terraces are ripe with succulent, fragrant rosemary and lavender bushes, and las pitas cacti. A mature bougainvillea climbs up the house’s sheltered southern wall adding a dose of pink floral colour to the patio. Every plant reveals a considered choice to maintain the native ecological balance, minimise water use, and integrate the home with the hill it stands on.

Furniture and fixtures add warmth and character while deepening the notion that the home is a sacred space. Two circular-shaped Santa & Cole ‘Estadio’ chandeliers hang over the living room, while a large corner sofa protrudes from walls softened by sizeable cushions. The stunning main kitchen features a wall
of cabinets that was custom designed around vintage wooden doors while the dining room table and chairs take their cues from China. Treated iroko wood doors and windows have withstood the force of the wind, sun, and the test of time.

Outdoor areas feel like rooms in their own right. The considerable marés limestone- paved patios extend out from the living room, dining room, the kitchen’s adjoining covered pergola, and onto a corner-placed al fresco lounge. With impressive views facing the Cap Nono peak in the north, steps lead down to the infinity pool, which flows seamlessly in two edges onto the bay below, in a way that seems to suspend the islands of Conillera and s’Espartar between two bodies of water. Poolside, an entertaining area with a barbeque and pizza oven is a favoured spot for tasty late-night get-togethers. Rather than separate spaces, the outdoor living feels like an extension of the home itself.

Puig d ́en Trias stands like a reminder of both balanced design and intentions. While home owners have a legitimate stake to their land, this sentiment
must never come at the expense of a more superior truth, which sees the landscape as part of the collective trust. This is a view that places the role of every responsible architect as twofold: to build a home that manifests clients’ wishes while also acting as a guardian of the wider panorama for future generations. Steadfast and seamlessly incorporated onto the hill that supports, this home’s in-built reverence for the island’s architectural past makes it simultaneously modern while remaining squarely rooted in the island’s ancestry.

Location and date of construction
Sant Antoni de Portmany, Ibiza
Jaime Romano
Manel Landete
Jaime Romano
Roberta Jurado
Roger Meier
Jaime Romano
David Blanco (technical architect)
Andres Van Gelder (architect)
General contractor and suppliers
Construcciones Peral (general contractor)
Box 3 (kitchen, bathrooms and cabinets)
DyD instalaciones (MEP installations)
Carpintería Pazos (wooden carpentry)
Piscinas Pepe (swimming pool)
Living Deco #5, 2006
Interiores, July 2021