Can Lis: Jørn Utzon Family Summer House in Mallorca | Yellowtrace

Can Lis: Jørn Utzon Family Summer House in Mallorca | Yellowtrace

Can Lis: Jørn Utzon Family Summer House in Mallorca | Yellowtrace

Can Lis: Jørn Utzon Family Summer House in Mallorca | Yellowtrace

Can Lis: Jørn Utzon Family Summer House in Mallorca | Yellowtrace

 

Off the beaten path and far removed from the tourist fray on the Spanish island of Mallorca, Jørn Utzon constructed a dreamy summer escape home for himself and his family – the home named after his wife, Lis. Built in the 1970s, the property is now considered an icon of 20th-century architecture, and is open to public applications to visit and even stay, having undergone upkeep renovations in 2011.

The ingenuity of Can Lis lies in Utzon’s reinterpretation of traditional Majorcan building methods and the use of local building materials. A sturdy wall of dusty pink stone sourced from a quarry in the nearby town of Santanyi shields Can Lis from street view. The house is perched beside an escarpment on a peaceful stretch of coastline, the cliff plunging down into the sea.

We spoke to Sydney-based photographer Terence Chin, whose photos are featured throughout this article, about his recent visit to Can Lis for the destination wedding of his friend Kelvin Ho of Akin Atelier.

 

Can Lis: Jørn Utzon Family Summer House in Mallorca | Yellowtrace

Can Lis: Jørn Utzon Family Summer House in Mallorca | Yellowtrace

Can Lis: Jørn Utzon Family Summer House in Mallorca | Yellowtrace

 

“My first impression was the location, overlooking the ocean on the edge of the cliff, with a steep 90 degree angle down to the water underneath – it was both breathtaking and nerve-wracking. From the outside you can’t fully anticipate what’s waiting inside. The trees are sculptures that cast shadows on the sandstone building, and the triangle design detail on the roof gives a hint of Utzon’s love for graphic shapes,” says Chin.

All the walls inside Can Lis are thick and fortress-like, and the windows deeply recessed; for such an exposed cliff-side perch, Utzon went to lengths to ensure inhabitants feel sheltered and protected within the home. Rooms are arranged in a series of pavilions connected by transitional courtyards and stepping-stones, strung in a linear formation to take full advantage of uninterrupted ocean vistas. Buildings house distinct functions, with cooking, living, and sleeping areas separated with an intention to distinguish private and public spaces.

“The main indoor living area had large windows cut into the wall showing an ever-expansive ocean, with semi-circular white tiled couch. The furniture was prominent and predominantly part of the architecture as a permanent fixture, giving a spacious, rugged and also homely feel to the place, much in line with Danish ‘hygge’ (translating to a way of thinking, living, socialising and being),” Chin recalls.

 

Can Lis: Jørn Utzon Family Summer House in Mallorca | Yellowtrace

Can Lis: Jørn Utzon Family Summer House in Mallorca | Yellowtrace

Can Lis: Jørn Utzon Family Summer House in Mallorca | Yellowtrace

Can Lis: Jørn Utzon Family Summer House in Mallorca | Yellowtrace

 

The local stone is raw and worn, evocative of monolithic ancient ruins. Tiled stone tables and seats are constructed as permanent features, while protected nooks are carved into walls for beds. Additional furniture is kept to a minimum, and is positioned in each room to take full advantage of the view.

A reference to the former street address, Avinguda Media Luna, Utzon employs a crescent moon motif throughout profiles, patterns, and room shapes in Can Lis. A moon-shaped window is the first thing visitors see upon entry to the home, positioned directly opposite the front door.

“Inclusive and communal, Can Lis also presents itself as a place of contrasts – bold glossy tiles in graphic shapes against the warmth of the sun and sandstone. Definitely a place of cosiness and comfortable conviviality with feelings of wellness and contentment. Much like ‘hygge’,” says Chin.

On an island that has changed dramatically through commercialization and tourism over the course of the last decades, Can Lis embodies a stoic sense of permanence, appearing in total harmony with its environment; as if it was always there, and always will be.Click To Read Entire Post

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