Jun 17, 2024
Project Gomila: Colour and Creativity Revive an Iconic Neighbourhood
- By
Blaire Dessent
Project Gomila: Colour and Creativity Revive an Iconic Neighbourhood
Jun 17, 2024
by
Blaire Dessent
Project Gomila: Colour and Creativity Revive an Iconic Neighbourhood
Jun 17, 2024
by
Blaire Dessent
Project Gomila: Colour and Creativity Revive an Iconic Neighbourhood
Jun 17, 2024
- By
Blaire Dessent
Project Gomila: Colour and Creativity Revive an Iconic Neighbourhood
Jun 17, 2024
- By
Blaire Dessent
Project Gomila: Colour and Creativity Revive an Iconic Neighbourhood
Jun 17, 2024
- By
Blaire Dessent
La Plaza Building, Photo: Iñigo Vega Carro; Main image - Las Casitas, Photo: Iñigo Vega Carro
E

l Terreno is one of the most legendary neighbourhoods in Mallorca, with its history as a popular area to live dating back to the 18th century, if not earlier. In the mid-20th century, it was a beacon of Hollywood glamour and Mediterranean style, but was then slowly overtaken by over-tourism and leaner times. After years of decline, the neighbourhood has recently seen a revitalization thanks to passionate residents appreciating the heritage of their neighbourhood, local creatives bringing in artistic energy, as well as key urban redevelopment. Part of this revitalization comes in the form of Project Gomila, a colourful collection of mixed-use buildings recently renovated by Rotterdam-based MVRDV and GRAS Reynés Arquitectos – whose offices are in the heart of the neighbourhood.

In reality, El Terreno is a rather small and highly concentrated area. It is difficult to get a sense of it without walking around and exploring its streets on foot. Snuggled between the bay of Palma, where large hotels and famous clubs, like Lio’s, guard the front line of the Paseo Maritimo, and the hilly Bellver forest, where tiny, meandering streets feature an eclectic mix of concrete buildings, art deco townhouses and Mediterranean villas, El Terreno is a fascinating study in urban planning.

Project Gomila was initiated thanks to the Fluxia family, owners of the Mallorca-based Camper shoe brand, who purchased a series of plots with the idea of developing a plan of renewal that would align with their brand ethos of sustainability and innovative design. Guillermo Reynés, founding partner of GRAS Reynés Arquitectos, grew up in El Terreno, and his architectural approach of restoring and reviving historic properties on the island, but with a contemporary and sustainable vision, was a perfect fit for the project. Reynés worked with MVRDV before starting his own practice on the island, and their expertise in urban renewal and green design made for an ideal partner to help undertake the project. “The Gomila Project activates a new centrality in Palma, a new meeting and reference point not just for the people in the neighbourhood, but for all the citizens. [It] has been very well received, bringing back good memories that Palmesanos had of the area”, says Guillermo Reynés.

Fabri-Casas with blue tiles from Huguet.
Project Gomila, Photo: Daria Scagliola

Project Gomila is named after the Gomila family, who immigrated from the Antilles at the end of the 19th century, settling in El Terreno. The father donated the land in front of the Town Hall to create a space where children could play on the street, which was then known as “sa Placeta”, and today referred to as Plaza Gomila. The project consists of seven buildings, each with its own, distinctive identity that is defined through colour, material and shape, but which are linked through shared certain design features, notably the cool graphic design elements.  Throughout the project, the goal was “restoration and renovation” to keep what they could rather than tear down. The centre of the project is the renovation of a 1979 building originally designed by Pere Nicolau, that feels like a large boat, with its white, multi-levelled terraces that rise up over a central patio. This central patio, home to Brutus restaurant and the HQ of GRAS is also a public space. Creating spaces of community is another through line of the project. Nearly all of the buildings have their own rooftop or communal space for residents where they can socialise, sunbathe or have a BBQ, and, in some cases, enjoy a rooftop pool.

“Where some of the designs are more suited to family homes, others are more suited for apartments for singles or couples; where some buildings are fully residential, others bring commercial functions into the mix. This diversity of people and spaces will help bring back El Terreno’s lost vibrancy.” 
Rooftop view of the Fabri-Casas Builing. Photo: Iñigo Vega Carro