The border, artificial and invented mechanism | Luis Gil


In this way when the natural barrier (the geographical accident) artificially used to protect the interior ecosystem, is insufficient, inadequate or non-existent for the desired economic or social use, then man develops not only artificiality over the natural but also takes a step more and build an ex-novo border. It is an invention that saves the natural deficiency, and around the improvement of this deficiency the concept of artificial protective enclosure will vary, also adapting to the progress and mutation of the possible aggression that comes from outside. As a result, they are the fence, the palisade, the wall as artificial boundaries, protective enclosures, function containers that should not be developed outside of that controlled environment and that are thus kept safeguarded. It is here that the artificial limit discovers itself as original architecture1 that demarcates areas, that delimits vital spaces.

The most basic and traditional interpretation that man makes about the idea of frontier (now understood as a manufactured barrier) is concretized in two simple formalizations: that of palisade (object interposed so that it is only possible to access by its breakage or by jump) and the pit (emptying designed so that access is only possible by wading). Both strategies of interposition try to create an imbalance of forces, concretized in the own limit, between the exterior that tries to access and the already established interior, deriving its formalization from the notion of convexity or concavity that nature exemplifies through the different orographies that are specified in the ridge, mountain or mountain range and in the valley or basin, past or present container of the passage of the waters.

La frontera, mecanismo artificial e inventado Luis Gil

To its particular lexicon the limit as a border has been adding a specific vocabulary related to the idea of avoiding it as an accident. Wade, skirt, jump, cross, penetrate…. Accumulating all of them inside the meaning of struggle to overcome resistance and opposition to the traffic that we referred to earlier.

All these terms are likely to expand, specify and specialize their meanings, when approaching architecture both on the scale of the city, as in the domestic, close to the individual and their smaller family group, separating the public world in the that social life is realized, of the private and internal world of the family through an enclosure. The latter, the facade, ends up inventing and defining, together with the idea of zenith protection, the roof, the very essence of architecture: an enclosure and a roof. Only then, after setting limits, of separating private and public world, aggressive nature and protection space, will all the richness of interpretations that different cultures add to this germinal concept emerge, until reaching the different degrees of elaboration and artificiality in architecture.

Border as an artifice, is therefore one of the basic concepts on which architecture evolves is modified and reinvented. The enclosure in all its scales, as a space of use that houses the domestic and that sometimes retains the natural world and in others the public world that are the origin of the aggression to the inner cor.

Luis Gil Pita, architect
Santiago de Compostela, November 2019


Original as a generator, of architectures that derive from this foundational idea.

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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