Organic Scaffold
Educational and Cultural Centre ‘Les Heures Claires’, from one utopia to another

Team: Arrova
Javier Zulategui_landscape designer
Status: Competition
Size: L
Year: 2021

‘Les Heures Claires’ educational and cultural centre (ECC), built in the 1970s by Atelier de Montrouge, was based on the ideas of sharing, of collective reflection and of embracing multi-disciplinary collaboration. These ideas led to a constructed form of ‘integrated amenities’ where different buildings holding several uses were connected between them to form a whole structure. While the place has been able to allocate different activities, it is now to move forward and rethink the place as the Centre is no longer able to satisfy the needs of its users in its actual configuration.

The proposal ‘Organic Scaffold’ is a utopia in the same way as ‘Les Heures Claires’ was back on the day as it refers to a reinterpretation of an already stablished system. The idea behind the proposal is rooted in the site itself, as the Centre already had a public walkway connecting the cafeteria with some of the other nearby buildings. As this solution was a partial one and did not fulfill all the needs that the site demanded, it was demolished, but its presence already hinted at the potential of the idea of connecting different buildings at different levels in order to give a new order to the whole built structure. An elegant vertical promenade takes advantage of the existing accessible terraces, expanding them to create a tectonic path. In spite of the simple linear form of this ‘scaffold’, the proposal spatially transforms in an organic way as it connects with the existing terraces. Thus, the roofs of the cafeteria, the gym or the ‘Alain Savary’ school could then be used as public spaces, becoming nodes defined by the uses of their related buildings.

House Y
House of the in-between, undefined spaces for a rural living

Team: Arrova
Iñaki del Prim_structural analysis
Status: Ongoing
Size: S
Year: 2021

The volume of the house arises as a result of the preconditions set by the location and the specific regulations of the town, resulting in an imperfect cubic figure with a small but generous garden in the back. An empty white box that accommodates another wooden box in its interior, in a clear reference to the house-within-a-house strategies developed in the past by architects such as Hiromi Fujii.

The interstitial space that is generated in-between the volumes becomes the common area of the house, being able to be configured in different ways. An undefined space that expands diagonally in all directions, thus creating a continuous triple-height void. This matryoshka strategy is enhanced by the entry of sunlight both from the façades and from the roof that fills the in-between space with a diffuse and continuous glow. All the rooms of the house are located inside the wooden box. Moreover, all these spaces have similar dimensions. Thus, as equal rooms with no hierarchy between them, they become neutral spaces without a defined use. In this way it is the user who, with his or her choice of furniture, defines the use of the premises. A flexible strategy that allows the house to adapt to both current and future needs.

Forum Idiazabal, a new cultural and productive environment

Team: Arrova / Antonio Cidoncha / Alcolea+Tárrago / Roberto Ercilla
Irene Almárcegui_collaborator
LOCAL4_landscape designer
UAGA_livestock advisors
INARQ_engineering consulting
Images: Team / JAM Images
Status: Competition
Size: L
Year: 2023

The proposal is conceived as a transforming agent of the area, to establish an intimate and didactic dialogue with nature, as well as with the agricultural and livestock production. Based on the principle of obtaining the maximum natural environment and the respect for the existing buildings, it is intended to adapt these structures, rehabilitating them and inserting new uses to turn the existing buildings into active characters within the context in which they belong. At the same time, a new building is proposed on the southern edge, towards the road, to increase the free space and free up the area towards the promenade, the stream and the nearby natural surroundings, thus defining a clear limit towards the semi-industrial context in the back of the settlement.

In this way, assuming a discreet position of the buildings, a real continuity of the city’s so-called green ring will be achieved through a new place of natural interest. This allows the proposal to be understood as a green infrastructure, in which the buildings take a relative back seat. To do so, an open system of intervention is proposed, avoiding a closed or limiting design on an architectural level. It is understood as a system or set of buildings, related and linked, that function both autonomously and jointly, seeking maximum flexibility and transformability and a clear and optimal organisational system that maximises the available open space.

Loft A
New ways of living, a transformation of an old motorbike workshopshop into a home

Team: Arrova
Bakaikoa S.L_contractor
Renoven_metal framewoorks
Sara Bonet_structural analysis
Photos: Iñaki Bergera
Status: Completed
Size: S
Date: 2021

The primary goal of the project is to strip the shop from of all the unnecessary existing elements. The space is then freed up to show the powerful and plastic structure that supports the entire building as the workshop acts as a podium for the rest of the volume. The present structural system, thanks to its tectonic nature, allows the facades to open up towards both the street and the block courtyard. The given transparency of these fronts and their different orientations give the space a great serenity thanks to a diffuse and continuous white light. Furthermore, this operation of dismantling and aperture allows the entrance to be transformed into a porch, a semi-private urban garden that acts both as a filter and as a space of union and transition between the house and the street.

Internally, the project regularises the floor plan by creating a main central space and compacting all the installations and storage spaces in the remaining adjacent surface. Thus, this central space is understood as a great white stage in which, thanks to the introduction of a new structure that is anchored to the existing pillars, a podium emerges that defines different accessible platforms. Ultimately, the podium ensures that the spatial continuity throughout the loft is kept. Nevertheless, the notion of depth and scale in this abstract space is defined by means of several elements made of okume wood. These fixed and mobile planes allow the kitchen and the bathroom to be placed in such a way that they are concealed but at the same time accessible. In short, the loft is a scenography similar to those proposed by the Swiss architect Adolphe Appia in which the new space under the podium is transformed into a working space, a domestic stage pit.

Gemeindesaal Arlesheim, construction of a community hall and additional appartments

Team: Arrova
Isabel Marin_collaborator
Mario Sánchez_collaborator
Promoter:Gemeinderat der Einwohnergemeinde Arlesheim
Status: Competition
Size: M
Year: 2018

The building is designed as a podium from which the main volumes of the building arise. Each volume on top has a specific use, the multipurpose hall on one side and housing on the other. Due to the use of a different structural system, the volumes contrast with the podium, defining a concept of duality in which the podium is the stereotomic part and the volumes the tectonic constructions. The podium allows to combine in the same body functions that usually are separated, so that a single building meets the proposed requirements. As in the Goetheanium, a formal reference for a large number of buildings in the area, it is the reinforced concrete that allows this architectural idea to be shown in an effective way, giving the proposal its sculptural character.

The stone like base of the building manages to overcome the marked steepness of the site so that above it while creating open spaces for public use that looks towards the immediate surroundings of the building, like the hospital and its landscaped areas. The rooftop viewpoints and the plaza allow the building to become the meeting point of the village, the place where both the inhabitants of Arlesheim and the many patients of the various clinics in the area along with the occasional visitors who seek to make the architectural route of the buildings inspired by Goethe, can meet. The shift of the body of dwellings with respect to the rest of the building avoids a direct view of its users both from the viewpoints of the podium and from the nearby dwellings, ensuring an adequate level of privacy in spite of its transparent and diaphanous morphology. At the same time, the podium allows both to respect the maximum heights and to lighten their volume since the two boxes that emerge from it are elements of a scale similar to the nearby houses and buildings. In this way, a building with a much larger constructed surface area than usual in the area achieves its own character without being out of scale and place.

Escoleta LLubí, sunshine, lightness and openness for the new municipal school

Team: Arrova
Status: Competition
Size: S
Year: 2016

The project is articulated in a similar way to that of the buildings in the immediate surroundings. The front of the plot is enclosed and delimited by a piece that frees up the rest of the plot to create an open but private space. A garden that, thanks to the island’s climatic conditions, can be enjoyed practically every day of the year.

The classrooms, the main element in a school, are grouped and framed under a thin roof, thus obtaining a continuous space around them, which is at the same time an outdoor play area and the entrance to the classrooms. Around these wooden boxes, support spaces such as the toy storage room, the multi-purpose area and the dining room are located. The precise distribution allows the areas for adults to be freed up, whether they are spaces for teachers or canteen workers, and to group them together as mentioned above in a simple piece to be built with traditional materials -such as marés stone- to act as a filter for quick access from the outside without the need to interfere with the children’s daily activities. The open spaces generated between the slab and the open-air play area that contains the teaching areas are intended to be zones of compacted soil and diverse vegetation, spaces that are essential for a greater diversity of outdoor activities and which require little or no maintenance.

Council House, new hybrid building as town hall and community centre

Team: Arrova / Antonio Cidoncha
Irene Almárcegui_collaborator
Status: Competition
Size: S
Year: 2023

Biurrun now has a building dating from 1940 where the municipal offices and the community centre are located. This building has significant construction, installation and accessibility deficiencies that make it unsuitable for the different uses demanded by the people of Biurrun. To these deficiencies must be added another of an urban nature, as its position on the plot divides the public space into two, creating an isolated “cul-de-sac”, an area that is totally unused and to which the building turns its back completely. This means that Biurrum lacks a proper “Plaza Mayor”. Thus, the proposal rotates with respect to the location of the existing construction. In this way, the surface that is enclosed by the main street becomes a unified public space that serves as a meeting point for the neighbours. This operation solves the problem of the absence of a “Plaza Mayor” in the town.

The building is conceived as a piece with a clear geometry that reinterprets in its conception the existing constructions in the village. In this way, the roof becomes the defining element of the new structure. On the one hand, this roof generates an entry space that creates an open-plan for the flexible uses needed on the ground floor, such as those of the society and the multi-purpose hall. These open spaces open up towards the plaza, extending their respective surfaces while the roof, thanks to its morphology, provides them with permanent protection from the sun, especially in the afternoon. On the other hand, in the interior, the space under the roof accommodates all the administrative areas. Thanks to their material and formal composition, the workspaces are endowed with a domestic character, with natural light and views of the surroundings.


Independent magazines & Congresses

2021: Pontes do Douro
Resilience and joy: Porto Academy 2013-2020
Adrien Verschuere / Baukunst Workshop

2018: Teishinshō. Imported Tectonics for Modern Infrastructures after the Great Kantō Earthquake.
XI International Congress – History of Modern Spanish Architecture

2017: Transnational Connections for Architectural Design between Germany and Japan in the Eve of the II WW.
The Second Asian Conference of Design and Theory
Scaffoldings and Falseworks. Unexpected Agents for an Ephemeral City. Studio Magazine #12
Orderly Disorder. e n g a w a #21
ISSN 2013 – 9667 / p.51-53

2016: Iwao Yamawaki: Self Portraits between Europe and Japan
Inter-photography and architecture / Interactions Volume
ISBN 978-848081-518-5 / p.342-353

STUDIO Architecture and Urbanism Magazine is a cultural project which have the aim of foster critical debate about urban questions and the contemporary city. This include architectural and urban planning topics, socio-spatial problems, political and institu- tional frameworks, the role of arts, and so on. This collaboration with Studio Architectu- re and Urbanism Magazine is not with commercial aims, nor it is not based in any type of money payments. Indeed, it represent a mutual collaboration between two parts, in the form of spreading culture, connect peoples and create new networks, which will be useful for both in the future.

Portraits. Potential conditions for pre-determined situations

Subject: Virtual Architecture and Communication
Professors: Enrique Rojo / Antonio Cidoncha
Institution: ETSA University of Navarra
Selected students:
Marcelo León_Spatial Visions
Ana Ekaterina Ozonas_Ar(t)chitecture School
Nuria Mullerat_Way Out
Juan Urzainqui_Back to Football
Natalia Carballo_Old Central
Mariéme Obama_Al-Rifa’i Systems
María Glyzina_Tett(i)saun
Year: 2023


The city-images…are interpreted in a conceptual level demonstrating ideas, images, metaphors and analogies. The interpretations are conceived in a morphological sense, wide open to subjective speculation and transformation1. The careful and critical consideration of architectural paragons, endowed with the lure of fiction, shall initiate new beginnings to alternate (hi)storie and cityscapes. Thus, different strategies based on ideas such as Surrounding / Umschliessung, Similarity / Gleichartigkeit or Multiplication / Multiplikation2, invoke the shades of possible endless variations that nevertheless continue to refer to known typologies.

Starting from the architectural school as a pre-defined situation, understanding it as an object with an obvious architectural definition, students looked for different architectonic and urban conditions that allowed to alter the identity of the building. Thus, the work consisted on a series of photomontages based on the reassembly of fragments of the ETSA together with other architectural and prototypical places to obtain new spatial configurations of the school itself and its surroundings. By using photomontage as the tool for spatial and architectural inquiry in such a way, the proposals underline an important point made by the Mies van der Rohe when he, inspired by Berlin Dadaist circles, started to make regular use of this technique from the early 1920s onwards: (visual) representation is much more than simply a post facto illustration, but rather a significant tool for conceptual and theoretical architectural research3.

1.O.M. Ungers, Morphologie City Metaphors. Verlag der Buchhandlung Walther König, 1982
3.E2A. Miesology. Notes on Mies replication. 2005-2011 Ref:


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Atelier Rojo_Vergara, narratives transformed into spatial strategies

Constraints transformed into forms that seek beauty trough narrative and analysis to achieve increasingly measured relationships between spaces and architectural typologies. Spatial strategies transformed into urban artifacts designed to accommodate all conceivable combinations and to respond to the needs of many categories of individuals. A relentless search for morphological archetypes that define the internal logic of the proposed solutions, not by means of formal translations of the programmes but as fundamentals structures of an architecture indifferent to its possible ascription to specific functions and independent of styles emphasised by the political and social powers. Modern ruins of minimal formal expression where the very lack of functional specificity is addressed as a method, pursuing a constructive refinement where the maximum precision (of distances, of relations between the body and the bounds of space) coincides with the maximum indeterminacy. A disconnection between form and use that finds in the building’s structure the solid foundation in which the object is developed around.