The explosion of the architecture of the spectacle is directly tied to the urban phenomena and maybe for problems on a large scale, budget or function has eclipsed the architectural debate of the rural thing. In these areas the most awkward contemporary architecture tries to establish new links with the context across the update of the local tradition.
During possibly too much time the rural environments and the works that have developed in these places have happened unnoticed in the architectural debate. The grandeur of the pharaonic projects of the metrópolis they have dragged the theoretical debate towards the urban fact. His growth, his sustainability, them gentle cities or the social thing are the specific problems of the city that have monopolized the architectural speech. Somehow this situation has removed the debate of the ordinariness that supposes in the practice projecting a housing or a small project in a rural core.
In these contexts the architecture always has had to fight to propose new solutions with an environment based on the continuity of a tradition, of a few manners of doing that they have given place to the different tipologías of traditional architecture and that they impregnate with forceful form the imaginary one of the inhabitants of these rural environments.
Nobody can criticize the architecture vernacular, an architecture which structure hospitalizes has been constructed for centuries across an evolutionary process, in which the solutions have been perfected to adapt more and better to the determining ones of a certain environment, up to coming to a condition in which the traditional architecture and his landscape get confused and become indivisible.
No doubt the current problem of the works that construct themselves in the rural way drift of a bad interpretation of this identification between a certain architecture and his place. This dynamics has placed ahead of the keys, of the successes, of the essence of the traditional architecture his own image, without understanding that the image is a result and not a method of adequacy of the architecture to the place.
For the contemporary architecture that acts in these contexts so loaded with memory, the existing thing is the reality in the one that has to operate and develop the project. The project needs to respect the manners, the conclusions reached by the tradition, to be able to update them to a language and to a constructive current practice; this it supposes supporting alive and in I develop the local architecture and to contribute one more step to the evolutionary process that generated this architecture that today we call traditionally.
Definitively it is a question of readjusting vernacular, it is a question of reading the conditions of environment and joining him respecting the balances of the context. It is a question of proposing something new him inside the continued process that has generated this environment, departing not from a leaf in white but from the accumulated experience.
Projects like Leoz’s Town hall in Iratxeta of the architects Guillermo Garbisu and Magdalena Lopez are a good example of this aptitude to reread the context that the contemporary architecture is incorporating. It is a question of a small building that in spite of his clear volumetry and the modernity of his hollows it incorporates without any complex the traditional cover of flagstones of stone, inserting the new building in the context and of this form continuing the landscape. The new building joins to the existing church forming together with the former building a new set that in spite of the difference of age between both constructions is not dissonant, rather everything opposite, one might affirm that both volumes speak a common language. A small square of access formalized by half by the ancient thing and the new thing uses as access to the town hall in which the walls of stone and the cover speak about the past whereas his lintels and carpentries speak about the present time. The project tries to endow this way the village of a few new facilities without interrupting his naturalness. A local naturalness that is updated by the current language on having re-defined the former procedure or laws that have generated it, creating with modesty a great architecture.
Buildings like the one-family housing constructed by Carlos Quintáns in the Saw of the Courel are a good testimony of this capacity actualizadora of vernacular. Rehabilitating a small rural construction in Paderne’s village, he takes advantage of it as socle to the new construction and a piece current articulates that enclosed in spite of his formal cleanliness and the air to new that detaches seems to take in the place the whole life.
With a succinct program solved in approximately seventy square meters there is formalized a housing which principal stay places in the first floor, separating of the soil and opening his interior with a great large window for the landscape; in contrast with the ground floor that, taking advantage of the walls of stone typical of the local buildings, shelters the bedrooms in a more hermetic piece.
On the ancient walls of the original barn, a structure of laminated wood gives body to the top volume with a sober cover to two waters without any type of eaves, exempting the minimal necessary auction to protect the skin of exterior chestnut-tree and it is inserted in the landscape, in the life of the people by total naturalness.
The stone of the socle, atemporal as the chestnut-tree, will evolve adopting the beauty that the made well things adopt with the passage of time; he speaks to us about an intelligent architecture, which departs from a knowledge praised by the site, by his climate and by his architectures; without copying them in the superficial thing but understanding the essential thing to be able to evolve.
Since was in the habit of counting Jorge Oteiza, which advances trying to create something new it does it as a rower, advancing towards ahead but recontrol of backs to the future, looking backward, towards the past, towards the existing thing to be able to reorganize his keys.
Thanks to Carlos Quintans for the inconveniences that one has taken.
íñigo garcía odiaga. architect
san sebastián. february 2011
It´s published in MUGALARI 11.02.18