“DEPENDING ON THE CLIENTS BRIEF, WE LIKE TO USE TECHNIQUES FROM GEOMANCY, FENG SHUI AND VASTU, FROM THE PRINCIPLES OF SACRED GEOMETRY AND FROM BUILDING TECHNOLOGY IN CONTEXT WITH SUSTAINABLE BUILDING MATERIALS AND THE PSYCHOLOGY OF SPACE”
What do you think about the architecture and design sector as a whole? What positives can you take from all of this?
The latest government protective measures reflect our current societies need for change from the existing outdated model. Since the crisis of 2008, the construction sector in Ibiza has been going through a transformation and is trying to reinvent itself. This offers Ibiza residents, and especially the architects, who are very aware of the values lost as a result of the aggressive building boom, a chance to find ways to protect the environment and preserve the island’s aesthetics, using environmentally healthy building solutions at affordable prices.
What is the first thing to be analysed when taking on a new project?
When we start a new project, be it the conversion of an existing building or a completely new one, we first analyse the site and the energies within and around it. Depending on the clients brief, we like to use techniques from Geomancy, Feng Shui and Vastu, from the principles of sacred geometry and from building technology in context with sustainable building materials and the psychology of space. We examine, among other things, the heavenly directions, taking into account the five elements; Earth, e.g. the topography, Water, e.g. the sea, running water, Air, e.g. scent and wind direction, Fire, e.g. the solar radiation, Space, e.g. how the energies flow.
And from your point of view, what are the major values that should be emphasised when planning a single family Home? (Functionality, eco-efficiency, sustainability, price, human relationships, etc.)
The ibizaliving architects believe in natural design and an architecture that seeks solutions for sustainability within nature, not by duplicating natural forms, but by understanding the principles on which those forms are built. Wherever we look, anywhere in the world, we see the same patterns ocurring. From tiny shells to giant spiral galaxies – the whole universe is built according to the same laws. The belief that the universe is based on a perfect geometric plan is ancient and widespread in all cultures. Ancient Egyptians, Greeks and Romans already used figures and proportions of sacred geometry in their buildings. From ancient temples in the Himalayas based on Mandalas, to medieval European cathedrals that use the principles of hermetic geometry – everywhere in the world, people have discovered this knowledge independantly from each other.
Sacred geometry shows us that everything in the universe consists of patterns and structures. These patterns are not limited to the physical, palpable world but also our emotions, our thoughts and hence our well being are subject to these same principles. One of these principles is the Greek letter PHI 1.618…., the golden mean.
Which states: If a whole is divided into two parts, so that the smaller part is to the larger, as the larger is to the whole, then one obtains a ratio which is perceived by the human to be an ideal proportion. The golden mean is present in infinite diversity in nature and in the human body, and has been used in visual arts, architecture and music for centuries.
So, when we design a place, we aim to create forms and spaces that are in harmony with the laws of nature and its underlying principles. Man, nature and cosmos are thus brought into harmony.
How should a new house relate to the environment (Ibiza)? And, with its users? What steps need to be analyzed?
A building should grow out of nature, as an extension of it, and form an integral part of the landscape, so that the building and its surroundings become one, promoting harmony between the house, the inhabitants and the natural world. The aim is to carefully adapt the project to its situation and not destroy nature in favour of the project.
To use existing natural resources and methods to provide natural shelter and well-being. The five elements mentioned before are in a continuous relationship with one another, as well as the clients character type and his/her 8 directional qualities. So the design of a new building should tune all these relationships and reinforce the beneficial qualities of each element. In this way, the new building lives in harmony with its surrounding and its users.
“SUSTAINABILITY AND ECOLOGICAL AWARENESS WILL BE KEY FOR ALL NEW PROJECTS WE UNDERTAKE.”
What are the current fields of activity of Ibizaliving?¿What does your architecture contribute toother areas? (decoration, design, etc.)
Ibizaliving’s current work is focused on architectural contracts and on our own 888 Ibizaliving developments. We are in the process of shifting to eventually only develop building projects based on our concept of Natural Architecture. Sustainability and ecological awareness will be key for all new projects we undertake. Organic influences combined with traditional ibizencan finca forms, the use of ecological materials, and building according to sacred geometric laws remain the core of our architecture, which we continue to perfect and will be evident in all future design project. All without sacrificing comfort and aesthetics, or blowing the budget! These principles will also apply to the our design of natural objects and interior architecture. We will create for example tables and chairs following fibonacci numbers, made using only sustainable materials and production methods.
In these difficult times, what should the priority of an architectural studio be? Is internationalisationthe future of the sector? Or, on the other hand, is renovation and refurbishment the area that shouldbe given a higher priority?
Although we are also involved in projects outside of Ibiza, our heart will always be here with on island. The rehabilitation and reconstruction of houses has always been a very interesting and fullfilling task, in which we take great joy. But what happens in the outside world is also important as we are becoming more and more global and we believe that our ideas of natural design and architecture can also be exported to other places.
Ibizaliving’s best bet for the uncertain future is to concentrate on our core philosophy of natural architecture paired with our approach to work with preventative awareness for the good of our environment and the world. Ibizaliving’s natural architecture know-how is a method that can be applied and translated to any type of new or existing architectural element and design.
What major elements make the Ibizaliving hotel project a clearexample of environmental sustainability?
Currently we are not involved in any hotel projects. You will find few examples of sustainable hotel development around. Sadly, in general, hotels are being renovated to higher standards (more stars), and to offer less rooms. This in itself is changing the turist model to a less family based one, and one that we feel is less conected to the ibiza values we uphold. We believe there is a lot of room for change to be made in this field, applying our principals of design together with a complete rethink of the current solution /model is needed.
What should each one of them, administrations, architects andcitizens do to promote a sustainable architecture?
The administration should encourage sustainable construction through: A) Economic measures such as subsidies, providing loans or tax breaks for these more respectful builds. B) Building regulations and planning that allow these type of solutions rather than the current out dated model that places no value on new and proven sustainable solutions. (for example: Lithium batteries, widely adopted elsewhere for electric storage, are currentl banned for household use in Spain, and there is currently a sunlight tax levied on new photovoltaic instalactions.)
C) Banning the use of proven poluting and harmful materials and methods. D) Investment in publicity, development and promotion of green technologies. We, the architects, should focus on better buildíng solutuions and to keep pushing to apply green concepts and materials in all our projects. And advertise the fact. Nevertheless, the market share of sustainably produced materials is still low in our sector. Many architects and their clients feel it is too expensive, not trendy or complicated to step away from the old norm. It is therefore important that we know more, do more research and keep current about what we use, buy and build with and what the consequences are.
As citizens we should focus on sustainable consumption, which if you think about it is obvious for us and the future generations to come. We need, first of all, to consume more consciously, i.e. to acknowledge all the consequences of the use any product and services we encounter. And then, in the next step, to think about how any disadvantages can be completely avoided, or reduced. The life cycle of all that we use should remain as the main motivator in any act of choice. Far too often products are discarded way too soon instead of being repaired or recycled. Investing in quality and careful handling of products will reduce wear, prolong service life and help the environment.
EN EL CONSUMO
LO CUAL, SI
REALMENTE EN ELLO,
PARA NOSOTROS Y
PARA LAS FUTURAS
The current rental crisis for year round residents is driven by the demand for more beds, i.e.tourism. The problem comes from the fact that many landlords prefer not to rent their property for the whole year, because they can achieve a much higher rent in the summer by renting for short periods just to tourists. We doubt this problem is fixable by regulation due to the high demand, and it will stay underground if it needs to. Building more housing will in the end push the problem away for a few years. Possible solutions we would propose to administration is:
A) Limit tourism by economic means, i.e. more eco tax, airport entry fee, etc..
B) Regulate and tax the rental market and use proceeds to encourage landlords via subsidies and tax breaks to switch their properties to a year round rental model. Alternatively a solution could be to estabish a rent cap. (this has been done elsewhere in other countries) i.e. the short term rent may not be more than ten per cent higher than a local reference rent.
C) Not extend the airport as proposed, and use its limited size to limit tourism.
Para analizar, ¿En qué está trabajando actualmente su estudio?
Apart from our numerous projects on Ibiza, we are currently working on the construction of a house on the island of Formentera. As an example, here is bit of information on that project. Ca Na Yaya.
The property is located in a rural setting near San Franscisco town, on flat land, framed by low natural stone walls typical of Ibiza`s little sister. The design, as you may imagine, is based on the principles of sacred geometry and natural architecture and uses sustainable building materials. The building revolves itself around a central courtyard.
The load bearing walls are built using stone found naturally occuring on the site, and in combination with hemp bricks*. Ceilings and supporting floor structures are acheived using FSC timber roofing and insulated with recycled wood panels. The whole is then rendered in natural lime mortars and paints.
*We are very excited about the uses of hemp bricks in construction. Hemp bricks provide a wall sytem that is highly insulated, does not require a cavity wall, is totally sustainable as well as being carbon negative.
Hemp bricks have also been shown to offer protection from harmful electro-magnetic radiation. All of which translate into a kinder soution for the environment, and a healthier place for the home owner.
Another project, for example, is a finca style house based on the fibonacci numbers. Can Pep. This lovely house sits on a gentle south sloping site in the country side near San Lorenzo. All the rooms and spaces have been aligned and sized using the fibonacci numbers, and the place has a very natural and timeless feel. The idea of this house is to be easy to live in, and not complicated by too much technology and a place to exist more connected to nature.
So we have: natural materials and finishes (such as recycled wood insulations, hand made clay bricks, local stone), reclaimed timber carpintry, an ecological pool with natural filtracion using plants and ponds,
water treatment and energization using mineral beds and decanting techniques, heating and cooling by use of efficient heat pumps with solar power back up. Currently it is being rendered with natural lime mortars.