The dry stone construction technique declared as a World Heritage Site
The constructions made of dry stone, pedra en sec, have created an exceptional landscape in Mallorca and the Balearic Islands. Dry stoneconstruction is the name of a building method of traditional architecture, where the structures are constructed from stones without any type of mortar or cement to bind them together.
The construction technique of dry stone in Mallorca is extensive and diverse, and the method is also widely spread around the world. In the Balearic Islands it dates back to prehistory, with the “navetas” and the “talayots”. With the rise of agriculture, the peasants had to remove the stones to be able to cultivate the land, using the material to build cisterns, water control systems, retaining walls for terracing, sheds, and also the characteristic stone walls of the Serra de Tramuntana.
In 2021 the Serra de Tramuntana celebrates 10 years as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, in the category of Cultural Landscape. The mountain range, parallel to the north-western coast of the island of Mallorca, was declared a World Heritage site for the richness of its agricultural environment with natural and cultural elements, highlighting the dry stone constructions, the agricultural terraces, and the water supply networks.
On the other hand, in 2018, the traditional construction technique of pedra en sec was declared Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity by UNESCO. The dry stone workers, the margers, craft the walls with impressive precision, and have contributed to conserve the scenery of dry stone walling In Mallorca. Since 1988, after an initiative from the municipality of Sóller, the local government Consell de Mallorca, is in charge of the school of margers and the training of specialists, aiming to recover the dry stone wall building profession. It is currently one of the few European institutions that have margers brigades on their own staff, and since 2021 the the dry stone wallers can obtain professional accreditation. The professional qualifications of one of the most traditional trades in Mallorca have finally been recognised, and it is a first step towards creating an official school on the island.
The scenery and architecture of dry stone construction in Mallorca
There is a wide presence of dry stone constructions in Mallorca, shaping the character of the rural landscapes. A large part of them have been built during the modern and contemporary age. It is one of the most ancient building techniques that continues to be a source of inspiration in the design of modern houses, especially in the countryside. It has a cultural and historical value, and there is a desire to maintain the typical aesthetics of the traditional houses of Mallorca.
On a farm estate, a dry stone wall or facade cladding provides a beautiful, attractive and authentic design. Also, decorating an interior wall, column or stair with dry stone, will give a unique and local touch to the house. Restorations and constructions with natural stone are becoming very popular for their beauty, but also thanks to their thermal characteristics, their versatility, durability, and ability to be reused. Natural stone is one of the most sustainable building materials on the market. In Mallorca and the Balearic Islands, marés is one of the most representative and characteristic construction materialsof traditional architecture.
The dry stone construction technique is based on local materials, available in abundance and at low extraction costs. It enhances aesthetic, landscape and ecological values, and is linked to the Mediterranean culture and architecture.. Most natural stones are very strong and durable, contain high impermeability, and require minimal maintenance.
For the construction of different dry stone elements, different building standards must be taken into account to guarantee the structural stability of the walls. Contact our company Ingeobras to find the best solutions for your home or garden.