Beginning of June. A morning of heat, strong wind of the South. Scirocco. Putting the sight out in the western part Monastir’s profile is guessed. It is that to want to see. Scarcely 70 Km separate us from the African continent. Lampedusa is a marvel.
If we travel the island we discover that his captivation is in the meeting with the sea. Very much and well he has written himself on the limit, this worrying point of contact and border. Lampedusa might be an apology to this one. His nearness to Tunis, turns, for centuries, into the point of entry most used by the Central African immigrantss1, like that, his entire culture, from the dialect to the gastronomy, is tremendously influenced by the wealth of the African continent.
Evidently, the architecture does not stay to the margin of this boa mistura2. The scanty demographic pressure as well as his privileged position of “stranger” have allowed that until the last ten years the island should have grown to a totally sustainable pace. If we go out of both small cores that have developed about both coves that serve as port, we meet a rocky, arid and very unprotected area of the wind, without scarcely vegetation of height. In this high plateau, and separated by areas of an intensive culture and of subsistence, there appear constructions of stone, low height and whitewashed cover. It is called the attention the homogeneity of his forms. The area of the Islands Pelagie (Lampedusa, Linosa and Lampione) is an area kárstico, of discharge meteorización limy, very similar to the one that is in the Cantabrian mountain chain. This way the cyclopean constructions of this small archipelago of the south of the south send me to the delimiting parcelaria of Cabuérniga’s valley, an exercise of understanding of the foundations of the architecture, geometry and gravity. As the dammusi, original of Pantelleria, but extended over similarity of climate and area.
It is a question of quadrangular enclosures, with the corners finished off in bevel, of small dimensions, that they were serving as elementary refuge for the work in the field, far from the principal population gathered in the fishing port. They answer in a brilliant way to the strong wind, reducing the resistance exercised across the small hollows that are left between the rocks taken to bone. The cover, a dome whitewashed in white, gathers the water of rain for the cisterns of the housing, fundamentally in view of the bajísimo level of rainfalls and the aridity of the soil. A construction well-considered and designed without hurry, without bureaucracy, without speculation. Fruit of the time.
More dispersed other similar constructions appear, of minor size and overdrafts, which they me remember to the Celtic cortines, walls of masonry taken to bone, generally in circle, that they were enclosing the beehives to prevent the bears from devouring the honey. These small fortifications, the giardini panteschi, protect the cultures, especially in the first phases, from the strong winds of open sea. Throwing a glimpse to the last one Obradoiro3, I find an image thought by Rudofsky of these gardens, in a series in which there are included also Dun Eochla’s mystical Irish walls. The limit becomes increasingly narrow. It seems that we are not so different.
A today, the dammusi have remained relegated to a merely aesthetic plane, a “inspiration” to poor constructions of stone taken with mortar and covered of concrete lacquer in white that they try to bring over of way soeza the photography detached by an architecture that reacts to the determining geographical some of brilliant form. In the same way that happens with the traditional housing of infinity of Spanish peoples. Even in a more bleeding way.
My approximation is recent to this one type of architectures, so elementary and polished that they serve as lesson. They reveal the process of response to a need and his execution. In fact, I surprise that in the years that I have spent in the school of architecture, so much her of here since her of there, very rarely these appear references as something more than pure anecdote. The yurtas, the jaimas, the dammusi, the palloza, the Roman domus. It attracts the idea of planning a cartography with the common threads that join these constructions, a luck of path that shows the ways passed along very different peoples, in epochs in which the distant view, it was furthermore far.
We take advantage very small of the concentrated broth that they us contribute to elaborate a good project. We have to dare to throw the eye to these constructions that have happened to form a part of the landscape as everything without need of ingenuous mimetisms. To re-draw his configurations, to study his tectonic logic. A wealth-producing and tremendously satisfactory exercise. Because with the vernacular architecture empatiza very rapid, we notice it very ours. Every coarse imitation hurts us as a pinch, as well as every dreg revealed in a good project us raises a sonrisilla. It us belongs to all, is a part of the collectivity. And it it is thanks to the time. Again.
Jorge Rodríguez Seoane
First days of course 2013/14. A Coruña
1 While I write this article, a small boat with approximately 500 immigrants eritreos and Somali Lampedusa’s west sinks on the coast. It hurts to see as the isola dei conigli remains inalterable, calm; before tremendous tragedy.
2 I allow myself a license. The group of Madrid Boa Mistura has thrown Momentvm an audio-visual piece that forms a part of a project of collaboration with Intermón Oxfam. Since they themselves define it treats itself of “a call to the reflection and a tax to the life”. Very necessary.
3 COAG MAgazine. Obradoiro nº34 El límite. Marzo 2012
Arquitecto y socio fundador y gerente de Seoane Arquitectura.
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