EDITION: August - October 2011


Text: Amanda Pi Cunningham
Long ago the Ibicencan houses had one-metre-wide whitewashed walls with small windows (if any) and facades looking South to capture the sun rays in the winter and to boost the shade during the summer. Windows were narrower on the outside than on the inside, mimicking old fortresses. Concepts such as “heating” and “defense” were well-rooted in their construction, whilst nowadays money allows us to increase the size of the windows, to install central heating and to set up alarm systems, completely overlooking environmental considerations. Another example would include ventilation, where in the past airing was accomplished by an ancient natural Egyptian system which the modern age has replaced with air conditioning.

Rooftops on rural houses are flat to enable rain water collection and they are made of three layers of autoctonous materials: one layer of cedar wood, another layer of ashes and kelp leaves from Posidonia oceanica (that act as insulation) and a third and last layer made from clay. On the inside, ceilings use cedar beams for support, you often see archways in the porches and both doors and windows were given a dash of colour. Today, construction materials are mainly imported bringing about a total and absolute dependency on the outer world.
The land, and in its wake the dwellings, having become a market asset, are nothing but an investment that provides income for its owner. Financial speculation replaces the practical and functional intentions of the past and the progressive urbanization of rural areas quickly loses its agricultural character. •