Trufa by Anton García-Abril

| 30 comments

Photographer Roland Halbe has sent us his photographs of a holiday home in Spain by Anton García-Abril of Ensamble Studio, cast in the earth and hollowed out by a cow.

Top and above photographs are copyright Roland Halbe.

Called Trufa (Truffle), the project involved pouring concrete over hay bales stacked and burried inside soil from the surroundings.

Once hardened, the resulting shape was exhumed and sliced open.

A cow (named Paulina) was then allowed to eat away the remaining hay bales to reveal the interior space over the course of a year.

Watch a movie about the project's construction here.

Here's the full story from the architect Anton García-Abril:


THE TRUFFLE

The Truffle is a piece of nature built with earth, full of air. A space within a stone that sits on the ground and blends with the territory.

It camouflages, by emulating the processes of mineral formation in its structure, and integrates with the natural environment, complying with its laws.

We made a hole in the ground, piling up on its perimeter the topsoil removed, and we obtained a retaining dike without mechanical consistency.

Then, we materialized the air building a volume with hay bales and flooded the space between the earth and the built air to solidify it. The poured mass concrete wrapped the air and protected itself with the ground. Time passed and we removed the earth discovering an amorphous mass.

The earth and the concrete exchanged their properties. The land provided the concrete with its texture and color, its form and its essence, and concrete gave the earth its strength and internal structure. But what we had created was not yet architecture, we had fabricated a stone.

We made a few cuts using quarry machinery to explore its core and discovered its mass inside built with hay, now compressed by the hydrostatic pressure exerted by concrete on the flimsy vegetable structure.

To empty the interior, the calf Paulina arrived, and enjoyed the 50m3 of the nicest food, from which she nourished for a year until she left her habitat, already as an adult and weighing 300 kilos. She had eaten the interior volume, and space appeared for the first time, restoring the architectural condition of the truffle after having been a shelter for the animal and the vegetable mass for a long time.

The architecture surprised us. Its ambiguity between the natural and the built, the complex materiality that the same constructive element, the mass unreinforced concrete, could provide the small architectural space, at different scales.

From the amorphous texture of its exterior, to the violent incision of a cut that reveals its architectural vocation, leading to the fluid expression of the interior solidification of concrete.

This dense materiality, which gives the vertical walls a rusticated scale, comes from the size of the bales, and contrasts with the continuous liquidity of the ceiling that evokes the sea, petrified in the lintel of the spatial frame that looks sublimely to the Atlantic Ocean, highlighting the horizon as the only tense line within the interior space.

To provide the space with all the comfort and the living conditions needed in architecture, we took the "Cabanon" of Le Corbusier as motif, recreating its program and dimensions. It is the "Cabanon of Beton" the reference that makes the truffle an enjoyable living space in nature, that has inspired and subdued us.

And the lesson we learn is the uncertainty that led us in the desire to build with our own hands, a piece of nature, a contemplative space, a little poem.

Proyecto: The Truffle
Location: Costa da Morte, Spain
Date of Project: Agosto 2006


End of building construction: Febrero 2010
Author of the project: Antón García- Abril
Collaborators: Ricardo Sanz


Quantity surveyor: Javier Cuesta
Developer: Ensamble Studio


Collaborator companies: Tongadas & Zuncho Dolorido, SL., Galicorte, Macías Derribos, Suministros Zurich, Ganaderia Paulina


Project Manager: Francheteau
Built area: 25 m²


See also:

.

  • http://mechiquitita.blogspot.com/ Najib

    A cow named ‘Paulina’?~lollll~~~

  • http://mechiquitita.blogspot.com/ Najib

    but it’s a great experimental!good job!

  • Andy

    very neat!

  • http://www.andrew-liebchen.com Andrew Liebchen

    A beautiful and poetic project. You can find more pictures at Arch Daily:
    http://www.archdaily.com/57367/the-truffle-ensamble-estudio/

  • Booh

    I think it wold have made more sense if they would have allowed a pig to eat the hay… get it? because it’s called a truffle?…. anyone? anyone?

  • Rac

    awesome!! lookin forward to more pics.. mind-boggling concept!!

  • http://www.solvinq.nl Marc

    Real nice project!

  • tadam

    it’s a shame the cow didn’t eat the rest of it

  • tsktsk

    Brilliant

  • Seth

    why would the photographer send so many drawings? more pics please!

  • ste

    wow… speechless about the intensity of this concept… material and surfaces are raw and real… would really love to visit it… too bad theres only one interior photo. more pictures please… this is just great!!! thumbs up dor the studio and paulina!

  • JJJJJJJJJJJ

    the best of the year!

  • http://www.session23design.com Michael

    Wow, that cow knew to make the space orthagonal. Good thing it also ate a skylight. Suspicious process if you ask me.

  • http://www.danielbrowns.com Daniel Brown

    To be honest I’m sure cows would do a better job than most builders here in Britain too…..

  • hans

    I was waiting for the the cow named Paulina in the video all the time. Now I am disappointed…

  • luis miguel

    jabadabadoo!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • mcmlxix

    This reminds me of a project we had to do in 2nd year studio on additive versus subtractive design.

  • Shawn

    Why do people (just a few of you) always lay into projects like this? It was an experiment, a thing to have fun with what the designers do. Have you forgotten how to have fun with your talents? I would love to do things like this, while the result isn’t the best it is interesting.

  • hayden

    Fucking awesome. Beautiful concept and execution. Design at it’s finest.

    mcmlxix** – I loved second year studio ! Chin up my little CAD drafter !

  • ch-85

    =D

    Big pile of hay + concrete + soil + cow = house

    Really cool concept and execution. This is how architecture must be! Rem Koolhaas eat your heart out!

    Now I wonder how the world would look like if cows were architects…

  • http://blog.worldinteriordesignnetwork.com/widn_blog/ Anthony

    this looks cool… underground construction became more popular now a days..

  • http://www.flickr.com/photos/artifice/ james webb

    i like. and then they should have a big feast and eat Paulina.

  • st.st

    LOL thats great!

  • Therese Senac

    Woah! Talk about integrating with the environment!

  • j

    really nice project, using old ( kob House) technology and making a very cool modern thing out of it.

  • Jetwax

    Fun. Love the concept and its empathy with the surroundings. Perhaps should have been just a bit larger to incorporate a bathroom and toilet. Pity to have to leave for the fundamentals. Top marks for building method d;-)

  • http://sorenkorsgaard.com Søren Korsgaard

    Love it!
    It has a parallel to Peter Zumthors Bruder Klaus Chapel, he too build the space as a negative in timber, and cast concrete around it. Afterwards he burn the timber, but this project is mind blowing, by using hay and a cow!

  • smt

    Cool project but there is no need to describe it with such seemingly “poetic” language that in fact really has nothing to do with what is going on here.

    For example, someone wrote: “This dense materiality, which gives the vertical walls a rusticated scale, comes from the size of the bales, and contrasts with the continuous liquidity of the ceiling that evokes the sea, petrified in the lintel of the spatial frame that looks sublimely to the Atlantic Ocean, highlighting the horizon as the only tense line within the interior space.” How can the scale of the “rustication” on the vertical walls, an effect produced by the bales (ps. rustication can happen at many scales, “rusticated effect” would be better), contrast with the “continuous liquidity of the ceiling” when the ceiling is made of the same material and was shaped by the same forms? (hay bales) And a sea that is “petrified in the lintel?” What does that mean, and where is the lintel?

    I know this sounds like nit-picking, but really, this kind of non-descript language actually becomes philosophically and politically dangerous when, for example, non-machine made forms are automatically described as “natural,” without any questioning of what that term means or whether formal mimicry of nature has anything to do with the quality of being “natural.” (ex: “It camouflages, by emulating the processes of mineral formation in its structure, and integrates with the natural environment, complying with its laws.”)

    This is a beautiful project and a straightforward, clear explanation of the way it was constructed would have done it much more justice than the obfuscating quasi-poetics written here.

  • Zoid

    While I have a bizarre fascination of concrete, I just can't like this. It's the size of a garden shed, looks like a turd, and has dubious longevity. It's an idea that I'm sure looked fabulous on paper.

  • Clau

    Why can't these bright minds come up with real wonderful living solutions for people who do not afford villas on credit and instead waste their time with stuff which gets more and more pretentious as it gets "closer and closer" to nature?? big mystery…Thumbs up for Paulina though