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new private property single house sa cabaneta, majorca

Timber construction was not necessarily one of the traditional construction methods on Majorca. But on the contrary. Rather, people preferred to use materials for building that could also be found on the island itself and or manufactured products that could be obtained from them. materia prima: sand-lime brick. therein lies the charm of resource-oriented construction. a recycling chain that is as direct as possible. their sustainability results from the availability and structural understanding of making these resources usable. by sawing, grinding and even burning all imaginable variations of the autochthonous sand-lime brick, a wide variety of building materials are still obtained today.

And if you follow this long enough, develop techniques, then recognizable typologies and traditions, skills and locally characteristic craftsmanship emerge. Mallorca has a wealth of all of this. the island is covered with a wide variety of examples, unmistakable traditional construction methods and architecturally grown typologies. The smallest micro-regional differences in techniques, craftsmanship, style and architecture are also noticeable. Building in the north is not the same as building in the south.

Not only because of different geological conditions, but also because of the resulting traditional architectural variation. countless master builders cultivated and protected their craft with considerable differences in detail and execution. This is how a wide variety of handwriting, identifying features and construction methods came about over the centuries, which can today be geographically determined.

Following this, the island experiences a mixture of other building styles, building materials and building techniques that people like to bring with them to the island. everything that is desired but not available here is imported.

There always remains the wish and the knowledge to at least integrate the “materia prima” of the island as local building material. the mining and systematic promotion of local building materials have left their mark to this day. For the time being, the meaningfulness of the whole thing falls by the wayside. what is well intentioned on the one hand, signals local patriotism and in some places culminates in homage architecture, on the other hand drains the island.

No thought lost to the conservation of local resources. Countless quarries, most of which are closed today, cover stretches of land and coastal regions and bear witness to many centuries of building activity. exhausted surface and underground mining. piedra de binisalem practically no longer available.

Are we still on the right track? whom and how is actually helped if we continue carelessly?

How can traditions be preserved and at the same time conserve resources? how can this work? How can architecture typical of the country be cultivated, craftsmanship survive and still develop a sensitivity for dwindling resources?

Let’s not fool ourselves. In the coming decades, Mallorca will experience immigration that is neither conducive to renaturation nor sustainable. According to a study, the city of Palma will have over 520,000 inhabitants by 2050. emigration to the country. Further immigration directly to the villages and outside the villages.

Can this be done with the help of local resources? Isn’t it also worth thinking about tradition and the desire to use local building materials differently?

What could we change? what are the alternatives? Recycling? waiver?

What can we do as architects? to what extent is this our topic? how can the growing awareness of sustainability, preservation and care be combined with environmental awareness, ecology and economy?

A mind game. Let’s imagine politics taking on the increasingly bad conscience of society. The realization grows in every builder and Mallorca lover that the preservation of what Mallorca is all about must be given priority over what ruins it in the long term. No new territory without simultaneous renaturation. Do not continue to create new building materials from local resources without at the same time recycling unused existing structures or, even better, reactivating, restoring and converting them into use. And at the same time focus on renewable raw materials.

A real recycling of material. reusability. No neologism without value creation or value preservation. Real estate would be valued according to sustainability. Location against edition. Measure the cost of building materials according to their CO2 footprint or their environmental compatibility. Focus on preservation while protecting, saving and conserving resources. 0711 was such a project.

That’s why we’re starting with this project 2104 an approach that should be more sustainable and uses renewable building materials. We combine recycled materials for the facade with wooden elements from which all wall and ceiling structures are made. the supporting structure consists of 100% bolted profile steel. Intentionally easy to disassemble and reuse. The material for exterior walls, interior walls, floors and paneling is 100% wood. Timber construction in prefabricated panel construction.

The initiative for this came from the client. He bought an old, unrealized plan, including land and building permits, from another of our clients and asked us for a wooden house. he brought us together with his international infrastructure. We delivered the original project, gutted it completely to the approved building authority parameters and set about the redesign, including the design and the necessary (majorcan) know-how.

It’s our turn. Traditional in the materialization and yet a creative homage to the island and its traditional handicraft. maybe we can bridge the gap between tradition and sustainability. perhaps an example of a serious effort to gently reconcile Mallorca’s appeal and the construction industry in a more sustainable relationship.


project: 2104
size: 462 m2 (construction, pool), 1204 m2 (landscape)
construction area: 313 m2 (incl. terrace)
client: jonas hofmann, bigbangbuilding
location: sa cabaneta, majorca
type: new building with swimming pool
team (buildings): jle
team (landscape): jle
responsible architects: jle