A white retreat unites minimalism and the Costa Brava landscape
This serene Costa Brava retreat is a combination of white, minimalist volumes and expert architectural framing of the surrounding landscape, designed to perfection by Sydney-based studio Mathieson Architects
This timelessly elegant Mediterranean retreat presents an image of white-walled perfection, offering spectacular landscape views from within. Designed by Sydney-based studio Mathieson Architects, the house is a serene hilltop palace that places its occupants in a minimal, shaded environment against a backdrop of bright blue skies. The site is located on the Costa Brava on Spain’s north-eastern coast, and the far-reaching sea views are visible through the precise architecture and the stark minimal forms of the local pine trees.
Phillip Mathieson and his team have treated the entire house as a frame, with long areas of glass that confuse the distinction between inside and out, aided by the region’s climate. A deep canopy rings the main deck, creating shade for the interior but further blurring the sense of where the house itself ends and the outside begins. Expansive terraces appear to sit above the landscape, while the infinity pool, sea and sky combine to create a triple layer of rich blues, enhanced by the dazzling whiteness of the internal and external walls and the floor and ceiling.
The house is entered through a large timber door that opens up onto a long vista with the coast set far behind it. The roof canopy is punctured with a number of carefully placed skylights, ensuring that the play of light in the interior is constantly shifting throughout the day as the shadows and sunbeams play across the angles. All interior joinery is finished in raw oak, with full height glazed doors in the main living area that open up to reveal an expanse of terrace culminating in an infinity edge pool, with the sea beyond.
Phillip Mathieson’s studio is best known for its residential work in Australia, as well as a clutch of contemporary hotels. With the Costa Brava house, the architects have brought a machine-edged precision to the Spanish region’s traditional vernacular, transforming the house into a stage against the sea and sky. §