miércoles, 19 de julio de 2017

Traditional architecture and fig trees

Rafael Alberti and his wife were saved by a Ibicenian fig tree.

Pues estábamos en casa sentados, me acuerdo perfectamente, estábamos sentados en una higuera, en una de esas higueras de que te he hablado, de sombra profunda, sentados en las ramas, María Teresa y yo, y de pronto vimos - nuestra casa quedaba a unos treinta metros de la higuera-, vimos a una pareja de la Guardia Civil que llegaba a casa y que venía realmente a buscarnos (…) A nosotros nos ha salvado la sombra de una higuera ibicenca. 

The fig tree is a symbol in the Balearic Islands, but especially in Formentera. The fig tree is a tree that warns when the spring comes, it’s an explosion in summer, it smells, it is refugee, it is sweetness… Even we dare to say that the fig tree is a metaphor for the traditional architecture, the one that inspires Project 14 HPP Sant Ferran’s houses in Formentera.

Because the traditional architecture has been a constant reference in this project, not as form, but as a work philosophy, from the lack of resources and with what you have at your fingertips. Like it’s happened with Formentera’s fig trees.

The peasant farmers realised that the fig trees had difficulties to grow upwards because og the strong of wind that blows in this island without mountains. That’s why, in a particular moment, the solution was to place forks down their branches (the forks are bifurcated sticks that hold the branches of the tree and assemble vines.

As time went by, they experienced that, with only one trunk, a fig tree produced few more figs. Moreover, the forks were used as a way to pick the higher figs, and animals and people found a shadow in order to avoid the sun. Everything were advantages.

This way, the peasant farmer shaped the fig tree respecting the tree and the environment, adapting and improving it. Take a look at Na Blanca d’en Mestre, the most amazing fig tree around the island.

Inspiration and wisdom come many times from traditional architecture, which sometimes are like a glasses to look closely and not to lose track.

*Photos, Luna Pérez Visairas.
*Production, Marià Castelló, Na Blanca d’en Mestre author, with Víctor Rahola and Stefano Cortellaro.

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