The Winner in the Architecture Category of The Tile of Spain Awards Social housing in Ibiza by Ripoll-Tizón Architects’ Studio

This building project stands on the fringes of the residential area of the Ibiza yacht marina and an area of floodplains and crops. It is a heterogeneous urban setting, with a mix of buildings used for leisure and tourism purposes, housing blocks, and holiday apartments. It is a landscape lacking in any apparent order, with isolated volumes of differing appearances.

Our aim was to avoid replicating what the immediate surroundings represent by designing a building whose identity would be tied in with the climate and way of life on the island. We took Ibizan country houses as an example of architecture built in consonance with the local environment, with white walls, windows and other openings with solar protection, covered terraces, and shady areas.

These houses, which take the form of a series of linked-up spaces, were gradually extended over the years to meet the needs of their inhabitants. This method of adding one module to another to fit in with the home’s envisaged requirements was taken as the starting point for the project.

According to urban planning regulations, the building had to be set inside a pyramidal envelope, whose outline would depend on its height and distance from any walls separating it from other properties. This is why some pyramid-shaped buildings can be seen in the area.

Our idea was for the built volume to be as close as possible in size to the maximum permitted envelope in order to free up space in the centre of the building. An inner space was created, ventilated in different directions by consecutive openings in the building’s walls and by patios and balconies. It was also used to interconnect the communal and relational areas, circulation spaces and accesses to the apartments set around it.

As for the materials, ceramic tiles were used in both the communal areas and inside the homes. To define the circulation and access areas to the apartments, glazed stoneware tiles and glossy glazed tiles in different colours and formats were used. 10x20cm and 20x20cm plain-coloured tiles and triangle-effect ones were combined in shades of yellow, pale blue, blue and straw, together with 20x20cm triangle-effect tiles in blue and straw, and pale blue latticework.

Ceramic tiles were also used inside the apartments (porcelain tiles) on both the floors and the walls of wet areas.

The Tile of Spain Awards raise awareness of the creative use of Spanish tiles in architectural and interior design projects both in Spain and abroad. Now in its 21st year, the competition is organised by ASCER, the Spanish ceramic tile manufacturers’ association. The annual awards are a well-established event with a prestigious reputation among professionals from the world of architecture.

First prize in the Architecture category, with a cash award of 15,000 Euros, went to Ripoll-Tizón Estudio de Arquitectura ( whose social housing in Ibiza features traditional-style glazed stoneware tiles with a coastal vibe. The jury praised the high architectural standards of this project, combining the high performance of ceramic with a decorative purpose. In the vast inner corridors of the complex, tiles cleverly mark out filled and empty spaces, giving the architecture a strong identity.

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