"Mediterranean architecture: much more than just a style"


In this article we tell you everything you should know about Mediterranean architecture. From its origin to the present day, certain common elements have been preserved and others have been adapted to modern life.

Read on and learn all the details of this characteristic type of architecture.

What is Mediterranean architecture

If you have ever wondered what Mediterranean architecture is, we will try to give you an answer as concrete as possible, but simple.

Mediterranean architecture is the style and technique used in the houses located on the coast of the Mediterranean Sea.

These houses have to withstand the hot days of the Mediterranean climate and favor ventilation. That is why white colors that do not absorb heat, thick stucco walls or patios and terraces stand out.

The combination of these factors gives this type of architecture a characteristic, but still highly variable, appearance.

We detail a little more about Mediterranean architecture and its characteristics, below.

Panoramic Villa, Formentera

What Mediterranean architecture is like

The architecture of a Mediterranean house offers bright, cozy and fresh spaces, which are perfect for comfortable living in this area.

There are a number of elements in traditional Mediterranean architecture that tend to be very present in houses:

  • Colors: white or blue, ocher or cream colors. They are usually very natural colors that fit in with the environment and do not absorb heat.
  • Natural light: Large windows and transparent doors are common in Mediterranean architecture, as natural lighting is a fundamental part of it.
  • Stone materials: Materials from rocks, lime mortars, or clay compounds are widely used in Mediterranean houses.
  • Wood details: Wood, especially hardwoods, is one of the favorite materials in Mediterranean architecture. It is commonly used in ceilings and floors.
  • The shapes: these are simple, clean and elegant. Horizontal designs predominate, seeking to give life to fun, meeting and entertainment areas.
  • Clay and terracotta tiles: they are placed on the floors or walls of some areas of the house, such as the kitchen, terrace or bathroom. This type of tile brings color to spaces and gives them a cozy touch.
  • Water: this is an essential element in Mediterranean homes. It brings freshness, vitality and a summery air that everyone loves. Fountains in patios or pools in the garden are common.

What stands out?

If there is one thing that stands out about architecture in the Mediterranean region, it is the comfort and well-being it provides to those who enjoy it. The energy that is transmitted in these environments is very pleasant and invites us to stay.

Moreover, by adapting to the environment, they are a great option to promote sustainable development.

Mediterranean architecture
Summer house in Paros, Greece. Rizos Architects

Mediterranean architecture: history and origin

Ancient Mediterranean architecture or Mediterranean vernacular architecture featured houses built with the materials available at the time, such as adobe and clay.

To talk about the origin of Mediterranean architecture we have to take into account that the Mediterranean region, also known as the Mediterranean basin, comprises several territories along the Mediterranean coast.

The region is huge, as it spans three continents: Europe, Asia and Africa. Specifically, we are talking about the coastal regions of up to 25 different countries and territories, and it is quite obvious that the history and culture of these regions have been largely influenced by Mediterranean conditions.

But when we speak of Mediterranean architecture, it should be noted that the term is as broad as the region itself.

In fact, it is an umbrella term that encompasses the architectural styles of the entire region, whose areas are widely separated from each other. Therefore, it must be taken into account that there may be notable differences between the architectural styles of two areas, even if they are neighbors.

The Mediterranean basin, as an area inhabited by humans, has a long history. Some of the world’s most important and powerful civilizations have emerged and flourished in this region. These include the Minoan, Greek, Roman and Byzantine civilizations, among others.

Thus, various architectural styles have thrived in this region and have influenced structures around the world.

What is our Mediterranean style?

The Mediterranean houses and buildings we know today belong to what is known as the Mediterranean Renaissance.

In the 1950s, Spanish and Italian architects established a relationship and promoted a modern architecture based on tradition.

They were trying to recover in the designs the Mediterranean domestic culture, taking into account social relations, the relationship with the natural space, the food culture, etc. Trying to capture the warmth, richness and relaxation of a Mediterranean villa.

As a result of this relationship, the Mediterranean architecture that we see today is configured and tries to combine the characteristics of always with the current technology.


Modern Mediterranean architecture

When we speak of modern Mediterranean architecture we are referring to contemporary Mediterranean architecture, the first term being popularly used, although not correct in essence.

The contemporary Mediterranean style can be accompanied by Spanish or Italian styles. It emphasizes a comfortable lifestyle.

Contemporary Mediterranean houses borrow aesthetic details from the style and decoration typical of Mediterranean houses.

That’s why these homes often have open floor plans, open, modern kitchens and an emphasis on indoor-outdoor living.

Isn’t it amazing how old styles can teach us and make us adapt to modern times by using more modern materials and focusing on simplicity, functionality and elegance rather than decoration?

If you have come this far looking for an architect for your Mediterranean house, you can contact us and we will see how we can help you:


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