Vacation Ruin

Ruins are as depressing as they are beautiful. Building abandonment is never a happy occurrence, but when it precedes building inhabitation, it’s even sadder. This never-completed holiday resort at Cala d’en Serra, Ibiza, was designed by none other than Josep Lluís Sert in 1969, while he was still living in exile in the USA and prohibited by the Franco Regime from practicing in Spain (a local office signed the drawings). Construction was temporarily halted in the mid-1970s, when the energy crisis struck, with concrete and masonry structural work nearing completion, and was then abandoned altogether after Sert died in 1983. There was an effort to revive the project in 2000 as a work of cultural heritage interest, but the dot-com crisis killed that idea too. Now it’s too late to be revived: there is serious deterioration throughout as rusting reinforcement bars cause the concrete structure to crumble to pieces. The floors have cracks and holes throughout, making exploration of these ruins very dangerous.

The design is classic Sert: low-rise, brutalist, and designed entirely around exterior spaces such as courtyards, patios and gardens. Had it ever been completed, it certainly would have become the place to stay in Ibiza. But alas, its greatest renown now is as a setting for graffiti, parkour, photography, and plain old gamberrismo (Ibiza style, of course).

 

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About Rafael Gomez-Moriana

I am an architect, writer and educator. rafagomo.com chronicles my architectural making, writing, teaching and curating activity, while criticalista.com is an archive of my writings as well as a platform for venting personal rants and observations. I studied architecture at the University of Waterloo (Canada) and at the Berlage Institute (the Netherlands). I direct the University of Calgary’s architecture term-abroad program in Barcelona and teach at CIEE, and have previously taught in the Metropolis Masters Program in Architecture and Urban Culture as well as at Carleton University and the University of Manitoba.

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