Designed for a wood construction workshop in Argentina, the ‘observatorio del campo y de las estrellas’ approaches subjects such as fragile structures, precarious constructions and ephemeral spaces.
A small architecture, a shelter, a 'folie'. The relationship between architecture and place, a sign of the human presence – an event in the landscape, a lighthouse – built with only 1 km of wood.
The vast landscape that connects and identifies the Southern region of the American continent – the fields of Southern Brazil, Uruguay and Argentina – is the starting point for the proposal. Its infinite fields, interminable countryside and borderless sky merge as a common ground. A landscape distinguished by its flat and continuous territories, similar climate and environmental conditions, along with the austerity and economic restrictions that single out its constructions.
In this desolate landscape, notably apart from any urban areas, the pavilion faces the challenge of building a vertical structure in a rural context – in contrast to its predominant horizontality.
In a reference to geographic events – the Andes, the mountains – and to the pre- Columbian architecture, the vertical timber structure looks towards the sky and its surrounding landscape.
A meaningful piece regarding not only the design but also the construction experience. A temporary structure building up from the experience of assembly, teaching and research. At the same time a fragile and emblematic building. Through the use of very few elements, the observatory creates an internal sheltered space that confronts the thin line between the tangible and the intangible.
The verticality of the structure takes place through a simple and rational construction system with beams and columns that reduce section in height; pieces and connections are dimensioned and articulated in order to propose an experimental construction.
The observatory has a structural grid of 20 columns and 50 beams. The 9.60 meters high structure floats above the ground upon 20 support points that leaves the wooden foundation pieces apparent. The raised platform generates a first level of contemplation of the surrounding landscape.
Within the inner space, an ascent route allows different perspectives upon the structure, the landscape and the sky above. The upper level, at 3.00 meters, provides a view of the horizon and up to the stars.
A light and permeable fabric surrounds the structure like a mantle, a diffuse mask that shapes the interior space, also allowing different openings and closings.
At night, the translucent veil reacts as a lantern, highlighting the structure complexity and providing it with different shadows and perspectives, with impressive views from and towards the observatory.