Profile

Aixopluc is a band of architects committed to making the earth more hospitable, with a steady focus on ecology and innovation. We build together with you in order to improve your life, the health of your built habitats and the ecosystems they are part of.

We do this through four differentiated modes -Practice, Research & Development, Community engagement and Teaching.

We don’t care about our self-importance or careers. We’re here to help you create and inhabit your own place. We devote our lives to this. We transform and are transformed by it. We are far from our loved ones while doing it. We might as well make it worthwhile.

Aixopluc is the catalan word for shelter.

WHY WE WORK

‘His purpose was to get closer and closer and closer.’
John Berger

1. To help.
Our job is to help others to inhabit or even dwell- while constantly questioning how that’s possible today.
Making architecture is an act of empathy and generosity.
We don’t believe in competition, we practice collaboration.
We don’t have clients, we work with dwellers.
It is not a service, it is mutual care.
It is not a business, it is a modus vivendi.
It is not a career, it is a journey.
We must be useful to others and to the biotopes we transform.
From now on, constructions without ego and with love.
Constructions that really welcome and help life.
As someone once said, ‘everything is bullshit but the open hand’.
As a friend once told us, ‘you will not get far, you’ll get closer’.
We build buildings, but we also build hope.

2. To build.
Our job is to transform matter, energy and information into inhabitable structures, for today and for a thousand years time. By critically facing social and ecological challenges, and eventually recalibrating them, we architecture materials and fluids where people can feel better. This is so for the whole construction lifecycle: from our collaborators to the builders, the inhabitants and the biosphere.

Each commission, research, camp or studio assignment unveils new needs and hopes, that we question through projects, systems, shelters and tutorials. Sometimes we unbury a lost craft; sometimes we lean on and interpret the arkane tacit knowledge of local builders; sometimes we must research and develop specific techniques and tools for them, by iterating and eventually innovating (invenit).

Our job is to think and to make (fecit), so others can build and live more easily. Our goal is clear and simple, the way is complex. We devote our quality time to this. Independence and freedom are our allies.

3. To save.
We urgently need to shift from being predators and parasites to a symbiotic relation with nature. In order to achieve this, our priority is to borrow sources -matter, energy and information- that have not been directly transformed by man yet: sun, wind, rain…

We work with what’s at hand. Learning from local builders -their craft and obsolete, inefficient skills- and our collaborators’ knowledge and ethos, we strive to create an informal network that’s bigger than us, and will outlast us.

Our challenge is to build what’s enough to fulfil somebody else’s needs and hopes -learning to do without- leaving no waste whatsoever and with a positive ecological impact.

We turn shit into manure. We think architecture should not be a tool for power, but rather techniques for freedom.

4. To improve (from and for an environment).
There are no constraints, only possibilities. Every obstacle on the way is a chance to improve. We also build knowledge -when to be certain, when to doubt, when to build, how to build- and practice mutual learning.

HOW WE WORK

Collaboration.
We don’t believe in competition, we practice collaboration. We listen to each other and nurture ideas in a constant dialogue. Our mutual journey with you is designed to be swift, clear and trouble free. We care and build trust.

In 2015 we started working remotely, while keeping our basecamp in Reus. This has allowed us to expand our network of collaborators, to work from any corner of the world, and to help dwellers that might live far away.

Expertise and focus.
We are organised in four modes of production -Practice, Research, Community engagement and Teaching- which operate in different contexts and are interdependent. We apply this heterodox knowledge, tools and techniques; our experience; and particular local and international profile; to respond to very different commissions, to adapt to each context, and to design and implement custom made solutions in a reliable and smooth way. We are small and agile, robust and resilient. We are not generalists, we are experts in the four constant themes architecture arises from: Dwelling, Technique, Sources and Learning.

Each project starts and ends with a celebration. OE house.

Open Camp Day 2018. Camp Commons.

Assembling the exoshelter. Camp Commons.

mas JEC

mas JEC

A precise and thorough plan allows for creative dialogues with craftsmen on site. mas JEC.

Each building system has its own tolerances. We design for buildability. mas JEC.

Old crafts and old materials applied in an innovative way. mas JEC.

We learn and apply construction workers tricks and skills. mas JEC.

Custom made. Huguet Mallorca.

WHERE WE WORK

Our computers are in a basement in a garden. We meet in tables under trees in that same garden.
We spend more than half of our time on construction sites, our carpenter’s workshop, in forests and on the road.


TEAM

David Tapias

David is the founder and director of Aixopluc. He graduated from ETSAB (Barcelona) in 1999, and obtained his PhD at the Department of Architectonic Projects in the same institution in 2013 with his dissertation on the maison Prouvé, with the collaboration of the Centre Georges Pompidou in Paris. David is Associate Professor in Architectural Design and Building Components at the Aarhus School of Architecture in Denmark. He has been Assistant Professor at the ETSAR (Reus), Visiting Teaching Fellow at the Frank Lloyd Wright School of Architecture in Taliesin West, and Lecturer in Architectural Design and Industrialised Building at the School of Architecture, Design and Planning at the University of Sydney, Australia. He is author of the book Pequeñas cabañas BIY (Editorial Gustavo Gili).

Ricard Pau

Ricard is Associate architect and BIM manager. He graduated from ETSAR (Reus) in 2016. In Aixopluc since 2009, Ricard is proficient in open system design strategies, BIM management, digital modelling, and rigorous detailing. He was granted by an Autodesk Authorised Training Center Certification with the ‘Autodesk Revit Professional Certificate’ and is currently developing a Master in Digital Building for 3D Modeling and Construction in UPC (Barcelona), learning new techniques such as BIM colaboration, VR & AR, Dynamo, MEP systems and wood, steel and concrete structures. He is our building project leader. Among his previous experience, he worked in an Engineering & Consulting company, as site manager assistant in a local construction company, and ISO & OHSAS supervisor.

COLLABORATORS

Building engineers
Plàcid Alegret, Pep Borràs, Neus Ferré.

Former collaborators
Aida Espanyol, Pep Anglès, Marina Huguet, Laia Diaz, Gerard Fernàndez-Marmolejo, Didac Gonzalez, Maria Cartanyà, Gabriel Horrach, Carlos Gonzalvo, Daniel Chapman, Anna Castellà, Laia Martinez.

Builders
Timberlab, Vilella Constructor, Constècnia.

Carpentry and wood structures
rels, Timberlab, Fustes Sebastià, Egoin.

Structural engineers
Other Structures, Jorge Blasco, Miguel Nevado.

Energy systems and services
Esitec, Societat Orgànica, Josep Maria Delmuns.


SELECTED AWARDS AND DISTINCTIONS

Premios Consejo Superior Arquitectos de España. Finalist. Kindergarten for Llubi. 2022

FAD awards. Architecture. Selected. Badia i Margarit High School. 2021

FAD awards. Architecture. Selected. Arimunani. 2021

FAD awards. Interior architecture. Selected. Alfondac. 2021

Premios Hispalyt 2019-2021. Selected. Badia i Margarit High School. 2022

Alejandro de la Sota Biennial. Interior design. First prize. Alfondac. 2021.

ENOR awards. Selected. mas JEC. 2020.

ENOR awards. Finalist. OE house. 2017.

Alejandro de la Sota Biennial. First prize. OE house. 2017.

EU Mies Award. European Union Prize for Contemporary Architecture. Nominee. Vilanova school. 2017.

XIII Spanish Architecture Biennial. Finalist. OE house. 2016.

XIII Spanish Architecture Biennial. Selected. Vilanova school. 2016.

FAD awards. Selected. OE house. 2016.

Premios ENDESA for sustainable architecture. Second Prize. Pratdip kindergarten. 2013.

Alejandro de la Sota Biennial. First prize. Pratdip Kindergarten. 2011.

FAD awards. Finalist. Pratdip Kindergarten. 2011.

COA Aragón awards. Finalist. Home and celebration space in an old bakery. 2009.

VI Biennal Alejandro de la Sota COAC Tarragona. Renewal. Finalist. Cal Massó arts production center. 2009.

V Alejandro de la Sota Biennial. Renewal. First prize. COAC Tarragona. Cine Lidia. 2007.

Vivir con madera, arquinFAD. Finalist. Natural Park office in Capafonts. 2007.

IV Alejandro de la Sota Biennial. First prize. Andreu Pintaluba headquarters. 2005.

International competition 400.000 dwellings. Second prize. A new landscape for the Ebro river Delta.  Co-organised by the COAC (Col.legi d’Arquitectes de Catalunya) and Quaderns magazine. 2004.

Europan 7 at Luarca. First prize. Urban renewal and landscaping of the Raicedo-La Capitana (7 ha.). With Darío Mateo and Cristina Goberna. 2004.


SELECTED PRESS

Badia i Margarit high school. Conarquitectura no. 83 (2022).

‘mas JEC’. Quaderns no. 273 (2020). Avery Index to Architectural Periodicals. ISSN:1886-1989

‘mas EE’. Quaderns no. 272 (2020). Avery Index to Architectural Periodicals. ISSN:1886-1989

‘Sant Jordi Solar School’. Detail. Book (2020). Avery Index to Architectural Periodicals. ISSN: 1614-4600

‘Sant Jordi Solar School’. Detail. no. 6 (2018). Avery Index to Architectural Periodicals. ISSN: 1614-4600

‘OE house. A techno-peasant odyssey in three acts’. arq. no. 94 (2016). Avery Index to Architectural Periodicals. ISSN:0716-0852

OE house’. a+u. Special Issue ‘Beginning with the House’ (2016). Avery Index to Architectural Periodicals. ISSN:0389-9160

‘OE house’. Abitare. no. 553 (2016). Avery Index to Architectural Periodicals. ISSN:0001-3218

‘Pratdip kindergarten’. Quaderns Anuari no. 264 (2012). Avery Index to Architectural Periodicals. ISSN:1886-1989

Post-industrial ceramics and climate change. aic-iac International Academy of Ceramics Congress. Keynote speaker and round table. Barcelona. 2016.

‘Systematizing partitions and wood panelling’ a+t architecture. no. 39-40 (2011). Avery Index to Architectural Periodicals. ISSN: 1132-6409

‘Systematizing partitions and enclosures using plates’ a+t architecture. no. 39-40 Avery Index to Architectural Periodicals. ISSN: 1132-6409

‘Creating a green filter for an existing façade’ a+t architecture. no. 39-40 (2011). Avery Index to Architectural Periodicals. ISSN: 1132-6409

‘Cal Massó’ Quaderns no. 263 (2011). Avery Index to Architectural Periodicals. ISSN:1886-1989

‘Pratdip kindergarten’. Arquitectura COAM. Fundamentos no. 361 (2011). Avery Index to Architectural Periodicals.

‘Pratdip kindergarten’. ON magazine no. 320 (2011). Avery Index to Architectural Periodicals. ISSN: 2010-2080

‘Cine Lidia’. Interior Design no. 81 (2010). Avery Index to Architectural Periodicals. ISSN: 0020-5508

‘Cine Lidia’. 2G. Dossier issue (2009). Avery Index to Architectural Periodicals. ISSN: 1136-9647

‘400.000 dwellings competition’. Quaderns magazine. Special issue (2004). Avery Index to Architectural Periodicals. ISSN:1133-8849

‘400.000 dwellings competition’. AV Proyectos no. 002 (2004). Avery Index to Architectural Periodicals. ISSN: 1697-493X.

‘Europan Luarca’. AV Proyectos no. 005 (2004). Avery Index to Architectural Periodicals. ISSN: 1697-493X.

‘Europan Luarca’. Arquitectos, Revista del Consejo Superior de Arquitectos (2004). Avery Index to Architectural Periodicals. ISSN: 0214-1124


SELECTED LECTURES AND CONFERENCES

Maison Jean Prouvé. ETSAB. October 2021 (online lecture)

Unschooling. UTS Sydney. May 2020 (online lecture).

Multi-storey habitats.
Research seminar. School of Architecture, Design and Planning. The University of Sydney. 2018.

Open Process Ecosystems. Conference paper. First author. ADR18. University of Sydney. 2018.

Tall wood buildings. Market trends and innovation directions. Conference paper. Third author. WCTE 2018 Conference. 2018.

After home. Lecture in DRAC Occitaine. Toulouse. 2017.

Best made easier. Prefabrication techniques after Maxéville. COAC, Catalan Architects Association. 2017.

Meteorophilia. Post-seasons habitats. East Coast-West Coast lecture series. AxA. Barcelona. 2016.

Good Weathers. Keynote speaker at ARTCOP21 BCN Conference. Ideas for the Sustainable Innovation Forum 2015. FAD DHUB, Barcelona. 2015.

Low energy conditions and systems. Paper at the AURS Congress. ETSAB, Barcelona. 2012.

Mediterranean disruptions. London Met Cass lecture and round table. Professor David Kohn. COAC, Barcelona. 2012.

Camp Commons. Ara arquitectura. Lecture series curated by Eugeni Bach and organized by FAD. Trespa Showroom, Barcelona. 2012.

La maison Prouvé à Nancy. Lecture at the Musée des Beaux Arts. Nancy, France. 2012.

aproximacions. arquia/proxima arquitectura joven española. Lectures at ETSAB, COAC Lleida, COAC Girona and COAC Barcelona. 2011-2013.

Matèria Sensible. 10 young catalan architects. Lectures at NOGO Lisboa, Escuela Técnica Superior de Arquitectura de A Coruña, AEDES Berlin, and COAC Barcelona. 2010-2011.

Pratdip Kindergarten. Farming techniques. Lecture at Col.legi d’arquitectes tècnics de Catalunya. Barcelona. 2011.

Microweathers. Lecture at First year design studio. ESARQ, UIC. Barcelona. 2009.

Lidia drawing her home. Arquia Próxima Congress. Fundación Caja de Arquitectos. Valencia. 2008.

Three forestry strategies for Luarca’s urban ecosystem. Lecture at Escuela Técnica Superior de Arquitectura de Madrid. 2004.

campdavellaners. Inexperiències. AJAC. Lecture at Col.legi Oficial d’arquitectes de Catalunya. Tarragona. 2004.


SELECTED EXHIBITIONS

44 Low-resolution houses. Princeton University School of Architecture. OE house. 2018.

Spanish Architectures. Cronica desde Europa. Fundacio Mies Van der Rohe. La Arqueria Nuevos Ministerios. Madrid. Sant Jordi Solar School. 2018.

Cities Connection Project. Export Barcelona in Brussels. Sant Jordi Solar School. 2018.

Building Stories. CCB Garagem Sul, Lisbon. OE house video. 2018.

Chicago Architecture Biennial. OE house. 2017.

XIII Spanish Architecture Biennial. Works: OE house (finalist) and Vilanova school (selected). Various locations. Spain, 2016-2017.

Spanish Pavilion at the XV Venice Architecture Biennale. Works: OE house and Cine Lidia. Golden Lion prize for best Pavilion. Venezia, Italy. 2016.

’D’obra’. aic-iac International Academy of Ceramics Congress. Work: Weekend habitat. Barcelona. 2016.

Vogadors. Institut National des Sciences Appliquées de Strasbourg. Strasbourg, France. 2014.

Vogadors. DESSA Gallery, Ljubljana, Slovenija. 2014.

Vogadors. Fabra i Coats, Barcelona. 2013.

Vogadors. Centre Méridional de l’Architecture et de la Ville, Toulouse, France. 2013.

Vogadors. Catalan Pavilion at the XIII Venice Architecture Biennale. Venezia, Italy. 2012.

Matèria Sensible. 10 young catalan architects. Lisboa, A Coruña, AEDES Berlin, and COAC Barcelona. 2010-2011.

Architecture is landscape. Catalan architecture exhibition. UIA Cervantes Institute Tokyo and Hokkaido University. Japan. 2012.

VII Biennal Alejandro de la Sota. COAC. Tarragona, Spain. 2011.

aproximacions. arquia/proxima arquitectura joven española. Spain. 2011-2013.

Architecture Catalane 2004-2009. Exhibition at the Cité de l’architecture & de patrimoine, Paris, France. 2009.

XI Venice Architecture Biennale. Spanish Pavilion. Venezia, Italy. 2008.

arquitectures sense lloc. Centre d’Art Santa Mònica. Barcelona, Spain. 2008.

arquia 2008. arquia/proxima arquitectura joven española, València, Spain. 2008.

V Biennal Alejandro de la Sota. COAC Tarragona, Spain. 2007.

44 young architects. Centre d’art Santa Mònica. Barcelona, Spain. 2007.

V Encontros Internacionais de Arquitectura, Santiago de Compostela, Spain. 2007.

IV Biennal Alejandro de la Sota. COAC Tarragona, Spain. 2005.

Europan 7. Multiple exhibitions of winning entries in diverse European locations. 2004-2005.

VII Venice Architecture Biennale. With Duncan Lewis. 2000.

eme 3. Architecture Festival. Barcelona, Spain. 1999, 2000, 2009.

Search questions

As a consequence of our search as architects, we also produce understanding and knowledge made of words -written and spoken. This search revolves around twelve constant themes, questions we don’t have a definitive answer to yet. This knowledge is not just a by-product of our activity, but rather an instrumental part that develops simultaneously and is imbricated in building. Search Questions is our sisyphean effort to organize and share this knowledge while it's blossoming, fragile and unstable. By doing so, a more specific understanding, and more refined questions emerge.

BOOK
1. Pequeñas Cabañas BIY

An exploration on children's innate drive and ability to build, and some huts that they can build together with grown-ups. Published by Editorial Gustavo Gili.

Speech
2. Endless beginnings

Graduation Ceremony. AAA. Aarhus, Denmark. September 2020.

Journal paper
3. OE House

ARQ 94. Universidad Católica de Chile. With Cristina Goberna and Urtzi Grau.

Paper
4. Open Process Ecosystems

Beyond Product Platforms for multi-storey habitats design and manufacturing. With Duncan Maxwell.

Article
5. Subrural

An incipient theory of the subrural, first published in Catalan in AT magazine, edited by Nuria Casais and Ferran Grau.