The Cabañán

Project

A little grove, near an old irrigation ditch, with an almond tree, a walnut tree and a pine. When I arrived it was already full of pre-existences, a balanced ecosystem, hospitable for its guests.

The proposal of a “Cabagnon” will consist in organising and arranging this richness, punctuating the latter with devices of local tradition. But with a mandatory requirement: every single action will serve both the guests and the host, be it called pine, rabbit, walnut tree, bee, squirrel -or even ant.

The essence of “The Cabañán”is about an inviting space, which calls for serenity, at the service of nature, dedicated to the learning of natures’ processes and collaborating with this. The cyclical behaviour of the project responds to seasonal temperature conditions.  The compositional elements will thus play different roles during the warm and cold months. An example being the use of traditional Large vases –“tinajas” for producing worm humus during winter, while their use for the induction of  the so called “botijo effect” during summer. Simiarly the summer will witness the production of local spirituous drinks – “orujo” in glass jars called “Cuartillas” whilst the same elements will act as Vernacular “Trombe” walls during the colder months.

Within this space, the human guest takes care of the wild hosts by collecting their goods and water during seasons of abundance, as provisions for the later harder months; producing ecologic compost for the feeding of both animals and plants. Vice versa, the latter will provide fruits, shadow, fresh atmosphere in warm seasons and warm in the cold ones. Achieving thereby a symbiotic relationship based in an elemental concept: hospitality.

Interview

What prompted the project?

This is the story of how to create a cradle to cradle the ‘March Thesis Project’.

The device was born out of the will to enforce the projects main concept of a circular economy. As a result, the structure had to be 100% recyclable. It was important to search for products which could be used for the creation of a suitable structure; bars, knots, and skin, not only limiting to the requirements, but also considering their previous and future ‘lives’, their costs, the possibility of renting, selling or reusing these. This information was afterwards incorporated within the project not as an extra value, but as a main design tool.

What informed and defined its development from thesis and beyond?

Once the circular economy theme was achieved through all the physical elements which constitute the device, I reflected upon the idea of exploring the concept of “Circular economy” into a “Circular project”. In that moment, according to this definition, the installation itself was unfinished, with a linear Life cycle, and a single use. To recycle the project as an entity, to embed it into a circular system, it was necessary to imagine a new meaningful life for it.

What was your work process in terms of project development and drawing?

For me, each design process is different, and each project has different triggers, agents and situations that make the experience unique. However, all the proceedings follow the same design philosophy that consist in understanding that drawings are as important as the conversations which they help to develop.

In this case, it was my connection with the rural world that activated the project. The sharing of drawings with local farmers provoked really interesting conversations, and a learning process on my behalf with regards to –generally unknown- natural phenomenon as the possibility of controlling and provoking the behavior of wild flowers.

How important was the drawing as medium through which to explore and reveal the project?

As I see it, the most interesting aspect of drawing is its potential to have an eternal life. Drawings are born as subjective mental figurations with regards to an entity that can be physical or not. They firstly exist as quick sketches, usually on simple piece of papers that are at hand at that moment, and then quickly develop into more elaborated entities with specific purposes. No matter what the technique is, they are constantly changing, adapting, growing in complexity with the project. This is until their “murder”: the deadline. We have all shared the common feeling that the postponing of a deadline would have enabled us to modify and improve specific aspects allowing for the drawing to grow a little while longer.

This project has given me the opportunity to cross that line and redraw my thoughts beyond a concrete deadline. Just for the pleasure of it, becoming a very liberating and of course, unfinished experience.

First of all, I understand the relationship between individual and nature through culture. The connection between the human being and nature is global; however, the link between individual and nature is influenced by the biogeographical region and its climatic conditions, local tradition, education, etc. Thus, I believe that architecture should not have a predefined role in this relationship but rather be a catalyst of the connection between society and nature, adapting to the needs and cultural aspects which rule the local context.

What is you take on the relationship between architecture, human and nature?

First of all, I understand the relationship between individual and nature through culture. The connection between the human being and nature is global; however, the link between individual and nature is influenced by the biogeographical region and its climatic conditions, local tradition, education, etc. Thus, I believe that architecture should not have a predefined role in this relationship but rather be a catalyst of the connection between society and nature, adapting to the needs and cultural aspects which rule the local context.

Could you expand on the idea of the human as guest further?

“Nature always has an answer.” Besides being the 3rd law of Newton, it was also the leitmotiv of a fascinating talk by Teresa Galí-izard about landscape and nature. The talk showed that, although the imperialist and colonizing attitude that the human being tends to have among societies also occurs in most cases in its relations with nature, this is not the only way we have to interact with the environment.

The development of an alternative and more respectful behaviour starts by understanding that within nature there exist extremely complex and balanced relationship mechanisms: the ecosystems. Within them, wonderful phenomena occur, as a result of this law of action- reaction, without the action of the human being.

The idea of ​​humans as guest in a given ecosystem reveals the importance of our participation within these ecosystems, as long as the existing patterns are identified and respected and therefore, the coexistence creates new situations in which our intervention does not put at risk the existing balance.

Beyond the realm of academia how do you see yourself operating as an architect?

That is something that I will only be able to tell when I have the opportunity to work as an architect. I believe that during my experience as a student in different universities I have acquired not only knowledge but also ethical values ​​about the profession, which will be really fascinating to be able to continue developing in a professional environment.

What is for you the architects ultimate tool?

I consider that in any time, an architect has to think about resilience through creativeness as a way of life.

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