Sa Bassa Blanca House: An Iconic Building on Top of a Hill
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Sa Bassa Blanca House: An Iconic Building on Top of a Hill

The Sa Bassa Blanca House ( known as Alpha Blanca house), built in (1978-1980), and is owned by the renowned artists Yannick Vu and Ben Jackober, and designed by the late Egyptian architect Hassan Fathy. The Sa Bassa Blanca house represents an iconic building that reflects the rich history of the Mediterranean architecture.

The Sa Bassa Blanca House ( known as Alpha Blanca house), built in (1978-1980), and is owned by the renowned artists Yannick Vu and Ben Jackober, whose artistic work are exhibited in many museums and exhibitions worldwide. This outstanding house is built by the late Egyptian architect Hassan Fathy (1900-1989), who was approached by the owners to design a house that express and reflect their artistic views and aspiration.

The house is built in Majorca, an island on the Spanish coastline and is six kilometers from Alcudia. To express their views, the owners created a clay model for a fortress-like house, which featured a common regional architectural language such as, a rectangular layout, an inner courtyard, and crenellated walls. Fathy adopted the owners’ idea and aspirations and developed what he called ‘ribat’ (fortress), which represented an important building type throughout the history of Islamic architecture.

The architect based his designs on the different types of the living spaces and its relationship to the exterior forms to create an integrated and a unified whole. Although the house underwent some alterations in its design during the construction phase, the main principles of Fathy’s design remained unchanged. In fact, the house represents a distinctive example of Fathy’s work as he applied a semi-monumental type of house-layout to a small-scale residence.

The overall design and layout of the house is appropriate to the hot weather of the region. The courtyard is not only the main garden of the house, but also represents the focal point of the house where it opens onto two reception areas. The house also included many of the architectural Andalusian elements, including interior garden with two fountains, domes, vaults, and mashrabiya (wooden lattice work)designed by the architect and manufactured by an Egyptian craftsman.

The inner courtyard consists of number of levels and tow fountains, which were brought from Granada. The fountains are very rare ones; one of them is a 16th century fountain made of white marble, while the other one is believed to be a former baptismal font.

The artist, Yannick Vu is the daughter of a Vietnamese sculptor and a French pianist. In 1963, she came to Mallorca with her then husband, the Italian painter Domenico Gnoli. They lived near Valldemossa at S'Estaca until Gnoli's death in 1970. Two years later Yannick married Gnoli's friend Ben Jakober, who came from a family of art lovers of Hungarian descent. Since 1992 the couple have worked together and created numerous sculptures that have been exhibited in number of locations around the island. They also established the Yannick and Ben Jakober Foundation.

The Sa Bassa Blanca House accommodates a museum for the Yannick and Ben Jakober Foundation and an exhibition of Contemporary Art. The house includes various spaces open to the public and is listed as Spanish National Heritage. The indoor exhibition includes works by Domenico Gnoli, Vu Cao Dam, Rebecca Horn and Fabrizio Plessi, amongst others. In addition to the exhibition, there is an open air Sculpture Park which exhibits large dimensions sculptures of animals created by Ben Jakober and Yannick Vu. The house also includes the Rose Garden with over a hundred varieties of old and English roses.

The exhibits within the Yannick Vu and Ben Jakober foundation consist of over one hundred portraits of children who were the sons and daughters of royalty. These portraits are from the sixteenth to the nineteenth century and reflect the varying cultures of those times in the past. Each of the displays in the exhibit is thoroughly cataloged and the exhibit is also arranged in a chronological order so that visitors can easily see how practices evolved from the earliest to the latest exhibits.

There is no doubt that the Sa Bassa Blanca house represents an iconic building that reflects the rich history of the Mediterranean architecture. Now the owners are trying to protect this important mansion by registering the house as a heritage from the local government of Spain.


FundaciÓn Yannick y Ben Jakober, Sa Bassa Blanca., 2007

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Comments (13)

Exceptional presentation of a remakable structure!

Ranked #11 in Architecture

Great job Sir!

It's nice to see that the public is able to see this amazing creation... the architects must be very proud indeed of this wondrous creation!

Excellent article.

well done, I never knew of this building before.

What an outstanding piece of work.

Thank you all for your kind and appreciated comments

Wow... this is amazing architecture.... amazing location

Beautiful pictures and excellent writing.

Ranked #1 in Architecture

Thanks for a highly educational discussion.

Thank you Sir for your highly appreciated comment

Awesome! Another great piece. Really enjoyed this...Voted up

Thanks Donata for reading and kind comment