Friday01 August 2014


Inca public market, Mallorca by Charmaine Lay and Carles Muro

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Charmaine Lay and Carles Muro have created a radical new public market building for the city of Inca in Mallorca, which wraps the town square up on to the roof of the building.

Charmaine Lay & Carles Muro
Inca, Mallorca
Completion date

The demolition of the old market structure provided the opportunity to rediscover a new public space in the heart of the city. The proposal tries to obtain the maximum possible amount of public realm while accommodating the different requirements of a car park, supermarket, shops, council offices and public market.

The car park and the supermarket are located in a multi-storey concrete structure underground, while the rest of the required programme rises above, reaching its maximum height of 13m with the council offices.

Beginning at one end of the site, the wooden boarding lifts up from the ground to form a covered entrance to the car park. This timber strip continues as a kind of pergola that runs parallel to the street, wrapping the main public space of the square, before unfolding into three sloped planes to become the roof of the market.

A final horizontal stretch covers the building containing the retail spaces and the council offices. The facades in between the folds of the roof are clad in aluminium louvres to allow for natural light and ventilation of the market within.


Rooftop view of the Inca public market

Source: Miguel Marine

Rooftop view of the Inca public market

Inca Market cross section

Cross section

Truss design constraints

The trusses were designed under two main constraints that dictated their geometry and dimensions.

The team decided that the top chord of one pair of trusses should coincide with the bottom chord of the next pair in the successive unfolding of the roof planes.

This self-imposed constraint implied a rigorous control of geometry and the constant adjustment of span and rise. Transportation of the trusses — of Norwegian laminated spruce, manufactured in Bordeaux, taken by truck to Barcelona, then by ship to Palma de Mallorca, then again by truck to the city of Inca — also constrained their length to less than 23m.

The use of inverted trusses allows the roofscape to be expressed as a continuous plane and stresses the presence of the structure in the market space.

Secondary beams rest directly on top of the chords to support birch plywood boards, on which the ipe decking is fixed to battens.

Tree-like timber structures negotiate the transition between the trusses and concrete columns, reducing their overall span.

Project team
Inca City Council, Structural engineers GMK Associates (design stage); BOMA (site) Quantity surveyor Forteza Carbonell Associats, Contractors Dragados (first phase); Melchor Mascaró (second phase), Site surveyor Héctor Fernández



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