The undoubted natural and scenic value of the setting, the sharp horizontal water level and the modified topography, colours, and different view corridors all define the scheme concept.
This single idea varies, depending on the point of view of the observer facing the building. From the outside, the intention is to create an enclosed space, capable of housing the uses that define its functional program, by means of an energetic, dynamic finish, whose interaction with its host space must not be aggressive (integration into the landscape). From the inside, the intention is for the space, through its finish, which now becomes blurred, to completely open out into the outside in order to enjoy the spectacular setting that surrounds it (integration of the landscape).
If a vessel mimicking the horizontal topography of the setting is projected through its geometric configuration and the design of its finish, colours that dominate the setting are used for its integration, providing the building with "indoor invisibility" as a result of transparent walls coated in a membrane of slats that do not break the visual field, the intention comes close to being achieved ...
The construction typology of the place, a reflection of the inhabitants' way of life, must be present in the project through vertically-distributed dwellings. The pronounced roadway slope should be overcome by staggering the façade in order to respect the traditional configuration of the slope alignments. The pronounced typology of the hillside on which the building is set requires energetic structural solutions. The excessive depth of the lot requires reflection concerning profitability, design, and organization. The aesthetic and volume conditions, the colours, the materials... are imposed, as well as the dimensions of the rooms and the program of necessities. It just remains to bring it all together and make it fit on a lot.
The result: a building block with a "consistent" structure that is able to contain the hillside that shelters it by means of a ring configuration around a bright central plaza that becomes a space for relating, that in turn resolves the excessive depth of the lot in regards to design; with a spatial and functional organization that is adapted to the complex topography, thanks to the staggered flank of the façade and the central plaza; with a vertical distribution that, starting out from the plane of reference represented by the plaza, goes up two levels above the slope and one below, where all the "vertical" dwellings, garages, and needed rear areas are developed.
From the outside, the building is perceived as a set of independent and heterogeneous volumes, from the inside as a homogeneous and serene place. And it gives the impression that this is produced spontaneously and pleasantly.
The disappearance of the building frame within dense urban areas is an exceptional opportunity to provide the city with new "urban functions." And if the area is located in a natural heritage setting, it will be a unique opportunity to highlight its singular elements.
To that end, the developed intervention aims to keep as much surface area free from construction as possible, in order to develop an open, transparent and sheltered large public square as an extension of the adjacent square, but adding a new concept of "protected free space" that enables the development of activities that complement those carried out in the surrounding area. The large square opens up the space next to a historical building, which then gains importance and identity.
The square mainly comprises two architectural pieces arranged perpendicular to each other, which define it vertically and horizontally. Both have a key role from a functional and strategic perspective, since they allow the allocation of new uses that regenerate and complement existing ones. However, they attempt to go unnoticed from a formal and dimensional point of view, due to their neutral façades and roofs that act as "background" (almost literally) to the action in order to delimit a singular public space, that is half indoor and half outdoor.
The intervention is located in a destroyed half block on the edge of a large open space. By appropriating its unique party wall and alignments, it becomes an expansion of itself, making a new block reappear bigger and perfectly integrated into the overall plot structure.
If the intention is to promote an architectural action resulting from the "natural evolution" of a particular urban fabric, aside from abstracting its morphology (closed and compact blocks with a strict alignment), we must understand the way in which these blocks are formed, that is, as a sum of volumes (buildings) that, while in plan form can comprise homogeneous groups, in elevation and section are heterogeneous and unarranged. With this intention, the building, whose enormous site is comparable to a block, conceptualises the existing configuration of blocks, appearing horizontally as a compact block while vertically appearing through different prisms, each with physical and technical characteristics defined by functions.
Under this volumetric distribution, this library appears as a centripetal assembly formed by a series of parts and functions revolving around a central core, from which any movement or activity is distributed so that most lighting needs are catered for. This organization leads to an "internalization" of the blocks making up the building, an essential aspect for its proper operation. But this self-enclosed building should also be aware of the setting in which it is located. So, it is understandable that, despite its "internal" organization, it cannot be oblivious to the large adjacent square and must in some way face it. It also has an obligation to open up onto those external settings that deserve to be held in the bosom of a library, in accordance with its quiet and relaxing aesthetic. The result? A building that is asymmetric and centripetal on one side and frontal, horizontal, and stratified on the other, while perfectly articulated from the perspective of urban conceptualization and architectural internalization.
Within a green area, a building should be developed that, however, cannot reduce the initial landscaped surface. It should be integrated into its surroundings in such a way that its volume does not distort the open character of the site, without ceasing to be an essential organizing element thereof.
In order to achieve this, a small and simple building volume appears whose floors are adapted to the outlines of the landscaped space (curved at the edges) and the height of its topographic levels (one floor), with a flat and landscaped cover over its entire surface (the building is also a garden) and that chooses as its outer covering that which is found in the pre-existing containing elements (rock).
It must shelter a collected and welcoming space in accordance with its purpose as a wake room, so a functional scheme is developed based on differentiated accesses based on use and with rooms that are easily recognizable and usable. Diaphanous pieces that, through their shape, the light, or the linkage to the outside, aspire to create different ambiances: the relationship among enclosures, the zenithal lighting, the outside hollows, the guidelines of the walls... play their role.
A major intervention located at the confluence of a zone with great environmental and landscape value, and an urban area with few services, requires a territorial strategy.
The starting point is a pre-urbanised setting, which used to be home to an important industrial-residential complex that fell into a state of ruin with the passage of time and disuse until it almost disappeared, but where physical and (above all) sentimental elements prevail, which must also be taken into account when it comes to intervening. The other side of the equation is that, within the same time frame, the amazing natural setting surrounding it has been revalued and even turned into an environmental point of reference.
Faced with this situation, the project sides with time and gives priority to the natural aspect over others, committing to a reorganization of the area that is as sensitive and natural as possible within the requirements of the demanding function programme imposed, so that it becomes a transitional element between the urban and the intensely natural.
With these premises in mind, the intervention aims to turn the area into a "naturalized" space, represented by a large native pine forest covering almost all its surface area and that, thanks to the height of the trees) provides shelter for the group of installations and buildings that make up the complex, striving at all times for them to interfere as little as possible.
The point of departure is how to identify, in a simple way, the rich and complex identity of any entire city, marked by a succulent history, as witnessed by its important cultural and architectural patrimony, its famous personages, and the idiosyncrasy of its inhabitants, in a way capable of valuing and strengthening that legacy, and decided to project its potential outward and toward the future.
It seems clear that any successful proposition must rely on forms and symbols based on the dialogue among the past, present, and future, allowing the observer to engage in different readings of the allegorical element, although all of them flow into the same object: the city.
A parchment is the element chosen. Wrapped around three times by a tie in the shape of a B, the initial of the city's name, with a spiral movement, it shows allegorically that it embraces its historical tradition and continues to augment it. Both elements form a reminiscence of the city's shield, thanks to their arrangement and their colours. The different elements that may be added to these main elements demonstrate the versatility of the composition.
It was a tradition in the area for the isolated dwellings situated in rural areas to be the result of the succession of different bodies and uses added heterogeneously to the original building over time. A simple volumetric composition was also traditional, with a gabled roof, the whiteness...
Perhaps we now give more importance than previously to the interaction between the building and its surrounding, to the search for the light and the views that form part of the dwelling... But above all, to the creation of interior spaces that, taking advantage of all the foregoing, generate welcoming and intimate sensations, in accordance with the personality, the feelings, and the desires of the inhabitants.
The combination of two times and two concepts leads to this simple, compact building, whose interior respects, in functional terms, the outside volumetric configuration, that seeks to connect and integrate the different rooms so that dwelling there becomes a "unique" exercise of the house, with the sun and the landscape as permanent guests.
What is rural space? Is this concept equivalent to rural land or non-development land? What characterises rural or non-development land, what are the criteria for defining it? What is or should be its functionality? What are the parameters that regulate the urban development of this land in urban development law? What is the content of the right to ownership of rural or non-development land? What does the power to build on it consist of within ownership rights? How is building on this class of land regulated?
Is the current situation in regards to the planning of rural or non-development land a suitable model? Are there alternatives? What requirements does a conceptual change in the existing model impose?
This study seeks to answer all these questions. Among other conclusions, it explains that we may speak of the obsolescence of the traditional conception of rural areas as a marginal and exclusively farming sphere, and that a turn toward a new, more positive conception is needed. There is also a clear need for functional renovation of rural spaces, which would require a new configuration of ownership rights over rural land that allows for the development of its individual utility and its social function: different situations, different legal concepts. The foregoing would lead to the development of a new planning model that would abandon previous concepts and procedures (inherited from the urban model) and would develop others based on a profound knowledge of the rural environment in every aspect (singularities and necessities) and from sustainable bases. In line with the foregoing, territorial and urban planning becomes a key instrument for achieving the designated objectives.
Perhaps it may be excessively crude to break off with one pull a singular architectural element from an urban environment, without even finishing the edges of the extraction, in order to place it in a significant enclave and display it as the image of a locality. But this is not so much the case if what is sought is to synthesize in a unique object everything that is beautiful and specific that the place offers, placing value on one of its tourist attractions (its architecture) and becoming its logo: this is what is aspired to with this sober architectural figure.
Its location in an open space next to a vehicle thoroughfare demands that it have sufficient size and presence in order to be quickly recognized, without implying excessive distraction. Thus its simple lines, its dimensions proportional to the speed of the vehicles, and its quality of being observed when moving, its unique construction material, and its chromatic homogeneity, as well as the conciseness of its message.
The horizontal character of the site where it is erected helps it to stand out; the precise presence of vegetation around it integrates it into the landscape; a soft nocturnal illumination allows it to be recognized in the dark.
So then, the aesthetic of its proportions and the charm of its configuration are derived exclusively from the attractiveness of this corner of the White Towns...
In the face of the ever growing concern about the alterations that human activity produces in the environment that supports it, emphasis begins to be placed on the application of sustainability criteria, including in the process of territorial and urban planning.
If what is sought is the conversion to sustainable models, the importance of understanding what sustainability is becomes obvious. Once the concept is understood, it is basic to determine what aspects define a system so that it may be considered to be sustainable and, reciprocally, to reveal what systems may not be considered to be such: in these cases, the causes will identify the pathology to be corrected, and the effects the impacts to be eliminated. This thesis defines those general aspects; the focus is on its concrete application to the sphere of planning and to defining contents and techniques in order to develop planning based on these concepts.
Among the conclusions thereof, it is seen that sustainability is a single possible vital process that makes the existence of living beings possible, in particular, man's existence, and their perpetuation on the planet. This is only effective as a comprehensive procedure and not as the sum of initiatives developed independently from one another. The conversion to sustainability is urgent for all the components of the global system represented by the Earth, and urban planning is one of those components, so that traditional planning formulas that overlook studies on environmental equilibrium should not be admissible. The change toward sustainable planning begins by accepting that this forms a part of an overall system, and ends up by defining modes of life integrated into the environment that supports them.
An element that seeks to identify an entity, both symbolically and in the real world, should begin to gestate with the analysis of those references that describe and distinguish it, in order to be capable of appropriating one of the most revealing ones. From study it would be deduced that, in the case of a cattle ranch, its representation by its branding iron is very significant, as this properly constitutes an emblem and because it is present, almost permanently, in all of its activities. The branding iron, therefore, becomes the starting point for the intended design.
Maintaining the "wire" structure represented by the iron, it is necessary to create a piece with sufficient presence to be identifiable and identifying. To this end, the choice is made to develop an object with volume based on the two-dimensional figure represented by the mark: the mechanism that makes it possible to convert the plane in volume is the addition of two new planes of symmetry to the image of the original, taking as the axis of reference that of the symmetry of the basic shape. The fruit of this procedure is a body whose spatial arrangement affords a reading from any angle of vision.
The use of forgings as material makes it possible to covert the "wire" into three dimensions. The arrangement of a solid ring-shaped plaza confers consistency and relevance to the whole, but without distorting its light, flexible, almost intangible but perfectly recognisable character.
Even today it is possible to find buildings executed according to "traditional" techniques and conceptions, although they already begin to be testimonial presences of what once constituted a generalized culture.
From the Sierra de Cádiz and starting from the geographical, historical, economic and cultural context in which it was developed, this study shows how, from the available natural resources, the population has been able to create a habitat adapted to their socioeconomic and cultural needs, generating models architectural with some original achievements and great wealth. Thus, it deepens in traditional architecture, not only as a mere "material expression", but as a true documentary text that speaks of the past and the present, of the evolution of a community.
Likewise, it is devoted extensively to the analysis of the materials and construction systems that characterize this architecture of the past, not only for the importance of these for the knowledge of it, but for its interest as a starting point for the correct development of tasks of conservation and rehabilitation of buildings.
As John Bold said, "we must contribute to the understanding of the architecture of the past in order to prepare a solid foundation for the future".
Sharing time with children learning to look at the city from a shorter perspective to explore what surrounds us is, more than a job, a unique experience.
When you are a child, the environment becomes internalized, and what you learn is part of what you know and what you are; in this sense, architecture and urbanism become an excellent way to develop knowledge and values aimed at the creative and participatory activity of children as citizens, in a source of understanding and commitment to the city and a rich fuel to develop creativity.
Understand that space is not only a set of neutral coordinates in which things happen, but the place where social relations are generated, it is essential for the task: to understand the notion of scale, to know the elements that make up the city and its activity, learn how to take care of the city and its inhabitants...
And if all this is achieved by playing, success is sure.