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NEUENDORF HOUSE - (Week 3 part 1)

The Neuendorf House is a holiday home designed for the Neuendorf family by architects John Pawson and Claudio Silvestrin. It is located on the Island of Mallorca, Spain which is known for its beautiful beaches, warm weather and mediterranean landscapes.

The villa is 600m2, and is surrounded by olive and mediterranean pine trees.

The Neuendorf House - ©


“We definitely didn’t want a conventional house with an entrance door, symmetrical windows, and a roof,” “We didn’t want to mess with the walls,” (Pawson)

Luckily for the architects the owner of the land was a famous art-dealer (Neuendorf) who had learned to see what others could not yet see in works of art. He had seen their other work and told the architects that they were free to do as they wanted, so they did. According to the journalist Heike Blümner when referring Neuendorf House to Pawson said that they "definitely didn’t want a conventional house with an entrance door, symmetrical windows, and a roof,” but that they “didn’t want to mess with the wall,"

There is no traditional roof, in fact it is a roof terrace with a view of the sea.

The colour of the walls is pink but changes according to the weather and the time of day, in the same way that the surrounding nature does for example the rocks etc. It can turn from a bright pink to a reddish brown. This effect was created by mixing soil and rocks from the local land with the concrete.

Windows in rooms such as bathrooms and bedrooms are not your normal windows, but small openings which frame other parts of the house or parts of the nature outside. The also act as sources of natural light. They are geometric in shape - usually squares or rectangles which remind of the shape of the house.

Doorways are multi-functional in this house - they let light in and people (like the entrance which does not have a door) but also more importantly as Unwin would say they 'frame nature', they frame a threshold, they generate an axis, and they create linkage.

Structural System

The structural system of the building is probably reinforced concrete. This is because it is much more flexible to use compared to bricks when creating shapes, and also it is stronger than bricks and normal concrete as it contains steel reinforcement. It also lasts much longer than concrete or bricks, it is easy to maintain, and it is also fire and weather resistant (ocmulgeeconcreteservices)

Architectural Relevance

When the villa was built in the 80s many of the other residents did not understand it, according to the owners they used to call it "the house without furniture" . The architects came from very different backgrounds Pawson had grown up in the UK, while Silvestrin had grown up in Italy but they had been influenced by minimalists such as Shiro Kuramata and AG Fronzoni. Whilst the many villas around now look old-fashioned, the Neuendorf House still looks contemporary, it is almost timeless. Some say that it is probably one of the first 'minimalist' houses.

For me it is a combination of many influences that makes it so interesting. There is the exterior which reminds me of a Saracen fortress in Sicily, the open space inside the walls (atrium) which reminds me of an ancient roman villa in Pompeii, the colours and textures which are inspired by the island of Mallorca and finally the minimalist feel of japanese homes.

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