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CollaboratorRICARD PAU




Serra Alta, Sheltering a Feeling

This terroir in the Priorat produces extraordinary grapes. The winemakers who take care of it bring guests to do winetasting in situ. They need some shelter from the heat, rain, wind or cold. The local materials and ancient techniques used in this vineyard come in handy. We will build three shelters along the vines, so the visit becomes not only a sensory journey, but a walk among future wines. Guests will be able to stay overnight if they wish to.

Els Escurçons is the highest licorella terroir in el Priorat, almost on the top of a hill. It is oriented towards the south-west. The views over the Ebro river valley, el Montsant mountain and the whole Priorat is breathtaking.

Els Escurçons terroir is taken care of by the people at Mas Martinet. They make one of their most prestigious wines there. They bring many of their guests to visit this place, so they can explain in situ the first part of this wine making process.  Currently they have a table and four chairs to host their guests. In the extreme Priorat climate, it is often too hot or too cold, windy or rainy, to taste this wine in the best conditions possible -with no noise. So they have asked us to build a shelter where they can welcome everyone and explain and taste their wine.

The site is quite isolated, with a narrow dirt path as the only way to get there. The vineyard seasonal cycle produces many waste materials. The place is made of stone, air and vines. We will use all these materials to build the conditions needed. We won’t buy (almost) anything.

This first plan was born during a one day visit to the vineyard. Soon we’ll come back and design and build a plan, together, on site. Meanwhile, from the other side of the world, we developed an easy open construction system that can easily adapt to that vineyard’s conditions. Once the main principles are set, it can transform and adapt to changing needs and conditions.

How can Albert Howard‘s ideas help us inhabit this rough land? We’ll transform three environments: one for winter, one for summer, and one for spring and autumn. They all relate to specific preexistences in this terroir, which carry in them the potential to easily become great places to enjoy wine in these very different seasons.

Weeds grow and reproduce spontaneously, adapted to the particular conditions of this environment. No chemical product is used in this terroir. There is a fragile balance between weeds and vines. We are developing a materialization method for these shelters that is close to how this terroir works: human presence here is about helping it to grow autonomous. We will build this together.

While the project is on hold, vines keep growing -they keep preparing the shelters to come.


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.

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.

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.

4. Open Process Ecosystems

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

5. Subrural

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