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.
To build it, 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 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. Earth and concrete exchanged their properties. The earth provided the concrete with its texture and color, its form and its essence, and the concrete gave the earth its strength and internal structure. But it was not yet architecture that we had created, we had made a stone. Using quarry machinery we made a few cuts to reach the core and discover the straw inside, now compressed by the hydrostatic pressure that the concrete exerted on the flimsy vegetal structure. To empty the interior, Paulina, the calf, arrived and enjoyed 50 m3 of the nicest food, which she fed for a year until she left her habitat, already adult and weighing 300 kilos. The interior volume had been eaten away, and the 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 resulting architecture surprised us. Its ambiguity between the natural and the built, and the complex materiality that the same constructive element -the unreinforced concrete mass- could provide the small architectural space at different scales. From the shapeless texture of its exterior, to the violent incision of a cut that reveals its architectural vocation, 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 at the Atlantic Ocean, highlighting the horizon as the only tense line of the interior space.
为了给空间提供建筑所需的所有舒适和生活条件，我们以勒-柯布西耶的 "Cabanon"为主题，重新创造了它的程序和尺寸。正是"Cabanon of Beton"这个参照物，使项目成为自然界中一个令人愉快的生活空间，它启发并制服了我们。而我们学到的教训是导致我们渴望用自己的双手建造一片自然，一个沉思的空间，一个不确定性的空间。
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.
Project: The Truffle
Location: Costa da Morte, Spain
Date of project: 2006 (August)
End of building construction: 2010 (February)
Author of the project: Antón García- Abril
Project team: Ensamble Studio
Javier Cuesta (building engineer)
Débora Mesa (associate architect)
Ricardo Sanz (project manager)
Developer: Ensamble Studio
Construction Company: Materia Inorgánica
MEP: Obradoiro Enxeñeiros
Structure: Jesús Huerga
Collaborating Companies: Galicorte (concrete cut)
Macías Derribos (excavation)
Suministros Zurich (seafood)
Ganadería Paulina (cow)
Francheteau (audiovisual production)
Built Area: 25 m²
Photo Credits: Roland Halbe, Ensamble Studio