The island of Ibiza is in a key position in the western Mediterranean at the meeting point of all the main maritime routes. This position has made it an economic and military reference point for Mediterranean peoples since far off times
Despite this strategic importance, Ibiza began to be better known in the 70s because of the hippie movement, which made it a contra-culture paradise, and then later for the beauty of its white houses that give it a unique panorama.
Ibiza’s popular constructions are part of the great range of architecture in Spain. The urban house in Ibiza is the most important building of all those on the island also known as Isla Pitiusa.
In recent years these have deteriorated badly and some have had to be demolished.
The typical Ibizan house is a compact construction on two or three floors. There are also the rooms that are sometimes used as lofts.
This type of construction doesn’t usually have a patio, but there are exceptions. In any case, it has a wide balcony surrounded by wooden balustrades, although nowadays this material is being substituted by metal.
On the other hand, typical Ibizan architecture can have two types of façade: flat or concave. The doors tend to be lintelled but there are also those with arches.
Ibiza also has another style of popular architecture: the rural house. These are built on large plots of agricultural land, away from the town centres and are only one storey.
The most important rooms in this house are the bedrooms, which often have small shelves built into the walls, and the kitchen in which there is also the wine cellar and the bread oven.
There is also a central room giving access to other parts of the house including storeroms, lofts, drying-rooms, corrals, stables and patios.
The Ibizan house is very similar to typical houses in Almería. Both are characterised by the simplicity of construction. Their walls, between 40 and 70 centimetres thick, are built of rubble-work, different shapes and sizes of stone held together with mortar. Another construction material is white-rendered clay or double walls filled with rubble.
The roof is slightly sloped to allow the rainfall to run off. Ibizan houses, along with those in Almería, also have terraces finished with a coat of clay.
Calcareous stone is the most used construction material of popular Ibiza houses because of its great resistance to weather conditions, its light weight and its easy cutting.
Current popular architecture in Ibizan houses is pure simplicity, with hardly any decorations. They have thick, roughly finished walls, semi-circular ovens adjoined to the outside of the house and their walls are whitewashed.
These days it is difficult to find a construction of this type in good condition in Ibiza. The new needs of its inhabitants and the population movement from the countryside into the towns have led people to leave the traditional houses.
But there are still some typical Ibizan houses that have been converted into guesthouses. Among them we should highlight the Can Lluc (Carretera de San Inés, KM 2, San Rafael). This is a pre-19th century finca that shows off all the beauty of rural Ibiza and is a magnificent example of the island’s typical white architecture.
This pretty Ibizan house is divided into porches and common rooms, several bedrooms for the family, and the pantry or slaughter room. There were corrals all around the house: to the west those for sheep and pigs, on the east side the corral for mules and the storeroom for carobs, and to the south the barn for the carts and farming implements.
The house was restored in 2003 and is outstanding for its wooden roofs and strong stone walls, the soul of local popular architecture in a building that joins ancient traditions and modern facilities.