Architectures on the border and border | Luis Gil

Búnker del muro atlántico | Fotografía: Paul Virilio, Bunker Archéologie, 1975.
Atlantic Wall Bunker | Photography: Paul Virilio, Bunker Archéologie, 1975.

If the edge, as a boundary or border, can only be approached by force (energy in a pure state without cultivating) or the strategy attached to its concretion, the technique (the invention that allows acting to deceive adversity), history architectures gestated at the border it has also materialized in a double formalization. In this way, the border and border space only survive on the one hand the round, mass constructions, closed on themselves or on the opposite end the fragile, light and susceptible architectures that are susceptible to mobility, rapid change and flexible adaptation.

Some contribute their mass, their corporeality and their intention to be immovable bodies. Heavy objects whose density is sample and irrefutable proof of their inaccessibility. This is how we understand the cubes that strengthen the wall canvases and on another scale, the fortresses in advance protecting the maritime cove. In the same way the coast bunkers that control large areas of coast covering with the physics of the firing radius1 the interior space of the territory or domain to be protected. They are all border architectures, open fighting.

The others, those of the limit, as a natural obstacle, are the nomads, those of the circumstantial or constant movement, architectures that have twice the architecture if we could thus speak, that to the basic concepts of the enclosure and the protection add that of lightness and the rationality in its construction and disassembly that makes them transportable2 being of a hard nature, but not rigid. They are flexible in different ways, in the physical itself, withstanding the same inclemencies as the fixed constructions, or the harder ones of these uneasy spaces that are the limits, and they are also in the sense that they admit variation and adaptation of the system depending on the landscape in which they are. Being flexible trying different options is an essential condition to survive in the space of confusion and continuous liminal aggression.

Bunker Archeology | Paul Virilio
Bunker Archéologie | Paul Virilio

Road architectures are also adapted to different contemporary cultures, such as those of houses that are lightened and adapted to the road producing an optimization that was already common to the classical nomadic constructions described above. The lightness that is proper a priori to these architectures is linked to other inherent notions such as aerodynamics, storage and stacking.

When today we observe the most elaborate nomadic architectures of the trip, the last machines to inhabit that are the train, the ship and the passenger plane on which Le corbusier and Buckmister Fuller were inspired seem only intermediate steps towards the bankruptcy that the Trojan horse intelligence made it to the limit as an artificial barrier.

Luis Gil Pita, architect
Santiago de Compostela, November 2019


See. Bunker Archéologie de Paul Virilio. Edt Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris 1975

See. Transportable Enviroments editado por Robert Kronenburg, Londres 1997 y Light-ness, The inevitable renaissance of minimum energy structures, edt 010, Rotterdam 1999.

Article chapter Allegory of the border and the limit, originally published in the Obradoiro magazine nº34, winter 2009.

Luis Gil Pita

Arquitecto por la ETSA de A Coruña en 1997, desde ese año colabora en el estudio de Manuel Gallego Jorreto hasta 1999. Becado de investigación en Holanda en 2000-1, con un estudio sobre lo fronterizo y liminar en arquitectura, por la Diputación de A Coruña, fue posteriormente Profesor invitado en el área de proyectos de la Facultad de Arquitectura de Guimaráes, Universidade do Minho, del 2001 hasta el 2007. Desde el inicio de su carrera ha publicado asíduamente artículos y ha participado como editor en diferentes publicaciones alrededor de la arquitectura.

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