spain and boston-based architectural firm ensamble studio expands its vision in the dark, using laser scanning technology to explore and breathe new life into an abandoned quarry. guided by their interpretation of history, ca’n terra transforms the near-century old site considering it as a new work, destined this time to become a room to contemplate nature.

images courtesy of ensamble studio

 

 

located on the balearic island of menorca the quarry dates back to the 1930s, spanning a life which saw it taken over by military forces and used as a fortress before being abandoned. taken by its beauty, ensamble was careful to make contact with the architecture, throwing millions of laser points on the wrinkles of the continuous stone surface to realise a scan of the solid structure. from this they were able to direct their own intervention, writing a new story to rescue the quarry from its abandonment.

 

 

in an effort to maintain what the studio felt to be ‘essential layers of time’ they casted the space with a mineral of sodium silicate, a material porous enough to clean and coat the stone without erasing its stains. it’s original arrangement has also been kept intact, proposing only to incorporate the bare necessities. a hot and cold water system satisfies comfort needs, meanwhile a kitchen, dining area and bedroom make the quarry inhabitable. occupying the rest of the space as well as areas for lounging throughout.

 

 

dubbed by the studio as the house of the earth, the ongoing project is a perfect example of the architects inextricable relationship with nature. in 2010 they created truffle house, a holiday home formed by pouring concrete into a hole they had dug into the earth. the studio employed a similar technique in 2015, when it first started building the tippet rise art center in montana, USA. whilst they might contain manmade materials, other projects have been defined by the action of extracting forms the earth, be them natural stone or preconfigured concrete shapes.

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