Vista Mare

A selection of holiday houses by the Mediterranean for the OfHouses blog.


For the blog Ofhouses, FIG Projects curated a selection of summer houses.

Vista Mare is the Italian jargon sentence that is used to promote the virtues of holiday properties, either for rentals or purchase, as well as the best location of hotels rooms. It simply means that from the windows or the terrace of the property, it is possible to look directly at the sea.
Since the XX century, especially in the countries around the Mediterranean, August has been the most popular month to leave the city and flock to the sea to get some respite from the summer heat and to enjoy much deserved holidays. The entire culture of the coast has been profoundly altered by the massive expansion of such seasonal tourism, as well as the profiles of the sealine, altered by decades of speculation.
For the affluent, exclusive access to the best beaches and coves, paired to the search for tranquility and isolation, was embodied in the construction of private detached houses, often immersed in wonderful properties.
The selection of Vista Mare is composed of such designs that share a few common elements. All of them have a direct access or view of the sea. Many reinterpret the salient features of spontaneous vernacular architecture from the Mediterranean, to generate new modern ways of life. In fact, several examples are sturdy and thick volumes, punctuated by few windows meant to protect from the heat, or, instead, they take advantage of rocks and cliffs to insert themselves into the rugged geography. They indicate a way for a different modernism, not through glass and transparency, but rather done of masonry and shadows. Modern in spirit and design solutions, they nevertheless feel like having existed there for centuries.”
(Cover image: Brigitte Bardot on the rooftop of Curzio Malaparte’s villa in Capri, during the shooting of Jean Luc Godard’s “Le Mépris”, 1963.)

The houses are:

1 Maison de vacances à Ghisonaccia, Corse (1969) by Roland Simounet.
Simounet was a master in design for warm climates through vernacular construction, massing and strategic placement of openings.


2 Casa Hartley, Costa Paradiso, Sardinia (1970) by Alberto Ponis,
Ponis exuberant geometries, adapted to the local topography, created a new style for his Sardinian houses, juxtaposed to the bare landscape.


3 Can Lis, Mallorca (1971), by Jørn Utzon
The retreat of Utzon in Mallorca is an exercise in simplicity, with thick walls defining a sequence of spaces open towards the horizon.


4 Casa Huarte, Formentor, Mallorca (1969) by Francisco Javier Sáenz de Oiza
Sáenz de Oiza was inspired by naval construction to create an ethereal pavilion immersed in the gorgeous landscape of Mallorca.


5 Rıza Derviş House, Buyukada (1957) by Sedad Eldem
Located on a limited plot, a cantilevered structure allows the house to gain numerous vistas towards the sea while protecting intimacy.


6 Garraf Weeked Houses, (1935) by Josep Lluis Ser Sert and Josep Torres Clavé
The houses are masterful exercises in restraint, allowing flexibility for the uses and celebrating the landscape from the terrace.


7 Porto Cheli House, (1967) by Atelier 66 (Dimitri and Susana Atonakakis)
The house combines indoor rooms and outdoor spaces to maximize the views towards the sea and to take advantage of the prevailing winds.