A Virtual Visit to an Improbable House

John Hill
21. July 2020
Photo courtesy of Ensamble Studio

Commissioned by 'T' Space and available online since July 18, Ca’n Terra: Architecture of the Earth is the virtual exhibition of a house designed by Ensamble Studio, a house that actually occupies an abandoned quarry in Menorca, Spain.

Moving through the spaces of Ca'n Terra by clicking and dragging the mouse, it's hard to fathom that we're looking at a house. It appears found; the spaces carved in the past have the most minimal of furnishings inserted into them for just basic levels of comfort. But as the renderings, animations, and other images overlaid across the virtual tour reveal, the architects — Antón García-Abril and Débora Mesa, founders of Ensamble Studio — intervened in the abandoned quarry in more dramatic ways, all the while staying true to its primordial qualities. It's an amazing project worthy of a virtual exhibition, during the coronavirus pandemic or otherwise.

Below is a short tour through through some of the spaces of Ca'n Terra: Architecture of the Earth, which is online on 'T' Space's website until October 31, 2020.

The interactive tour through the remarkable project occurs by clicking on clearly marked hotspots. (Photo: Screenshot of Ca'n Terra: Architecture of the Earth)
Plus signs indicate additional context ... (Photo: Screenshot of Ca'n Terra: Architecture of the Earth)
... such as a videos of the house's construction. (Photo: Screenshot of Ca'n Terra: Architecture of the Earth)
Navigation also happens through the plan in the bottom-left corner, which can be enlarged and clicked on. This plan is the product of an initial high-resolution scan the architects made to visualize the otherwise dark spaces. (Photo: Screenshot of Ca'n Terra: Architecture of the Earth)
The most dramatic intervention is a new skylight in the far corner of the plan; its creation is illustrated by an animation of its carving. (Photo: Screenshot of Ca'n Terra: Architecture of the Earth)
The format of the virtual tour enables views of all surfaces of this and the other spaces of Ca'n Terra. (Photo: Screenshot of Ca'n Terra: Architecture of the Earth)

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