In between Image and Sign

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In between Image and Sign


Viar Estudio




Who influences you graphically? 

First of all, we want to express that our drawings are ideas, concepts. Signs.

To summarize this idea, difficult task, we can say that architecture moves between two topics; image and sign. Image means the duplicate, the view, the representation of the object. Sign means an associated idea, concept. This is the difference between visual and conceptual perception. We are talking about the purely optic, visual understanding of architecture or the conceptual, abstract, linked to ideas, full of relations understanding of our work. We try to play both games; create architectural images and signs, deal with objects and ideas.

But our drawings are signs, rather than images.

 We are bored of computer machine 3d drawings, defining up to the very last details and a pretended fiction reality.

 Direct influences are cubism, symbolism, quattrocento painters or painters like de Poussin, Cézanne, Chirico, Rousseau, Magritte, Hopper or Hockney. We like the architectural drawings of ancient Egypt or certain Ottoman, Persian and Mogul images and even illustrators like Saul Bass or Saul Steinberg. We are also interested on Hejduk or Stirling drawings from the seventies. We try to express different times, diverse things happening on the same image on our drawings, trying to play a kind of double articulation on our images.



Your images are extremely textural, to what extent is texture used as a tool to establish specific atmospheres and/or design approaches or does it hint to a specific materiality?

Our architecture and designs are linked to Light, to light and shadow. We are concerned on the plastic or visual values of architecture, on the entangled path between architecture and light. Talk on light is also talk about it’s hollowing, the voiding or emptying of light: which is the shadow. We (the architects) don´t create light, we produce shadows and atmospheres. We are into the architecture that receives, spreads light and creates atmospheres. That´s why we try to express the atmosphere by means of the texture.

But indeed, it is also the materiality.


Your colourful silhouettes appear as bringing the proposal to life, how do you believe the images would be received by the client/viewer if these were not present? 

The user, the main character of architecture is human being, men and women, children or elderly people. We can not imagine our atmospheres without users.

If images are received empty of life, this means no architecture.


Within projects the images are seldom formatted the same way. What dictates the framing of an image?

We are not interested on describing the entire project; we talk about ideas, concepts or sensations. That is why we choose different frames or points of view, or even we use various points of view in our images.

But we must confess it´s also something intuitive.


What is your work process in terms of programs used? 

We try to use the simplest tech, which means, the drawing is the message, not the tool. We draw plans, sections and façades; we also draw sketches, to have the overall idea of the views. We use to plot perspectives by using geometrical systems (horizon line, points of view, grade scales, axonometric view, etc.) or we draw by hand the basic drawing, then we draw lines in computer and eventually we use design programs to color and texture the final design.




Spa in Santa Cruz de la Palma_Canaries, Spain

This proposal is located on Echentive beach also known as Ancon beach, whereFuente Santa spring arises. Fuencaliente Township,has a protected natural area called “Volcanes de Teneguía”.

Craters, fields of ash, lava flows, the Atlantic, the setting sun and the constant risk of volcanic eruptions. Can you demand more from a place?

The intervention is based on the landscape, on the suggestive black volcanic mass falling into the sea. Two mechanisms are used. First the adaptation to the complicated topography by autonomous chained elements on the slope. Second, the contrast; the black texture is accentuatedwith white elements and cleargeometry.

The pieces in the black landscape create a path to the beach, toward the sea, toward the horizon. The contrast between the black, organic and rough rock and the polished and white geometric parts is essential in the intervention. Close to those interventions of the Land Art artistslike Michael Heizer.

The intervention is seen as a geometric game inserted into the black volcanic magma stone.A downward promenade towards the sea, a set of lookout terraces on the horizon. Downward to the sea promenade, a set of lookout terraces on the horizon. Six ways to enjoy the scenery-six hot options tailored to the terrain. Six white parts embedded in the black. Items transported arising or suggested.

The program develops in two levels: planes, platforms and white terraces in surface.

The volume is built downward, below ground, inlaid and in related with the land. A white and black maze.



Spa in santa Cruz de la Palma_Canaries, Spain




Zhangjiagang Christ Church_Zhangjiagang, China

A religious center is a place for peace and concentration. A special site to feel comfortable. That is the aim of the project: to create a peaceful site to pray, for devotion and find the relation with God. The Church is the main area is the center of the compound and the bigger volume that organizes the plot.

Viar Estudio - China 01


Viar Estudio - Helsinki 01

Guggenheim_Helsinki, Finland

Viar Estudio - Noruega  01

Maritime Centre


Viar Estudio - Noruega  02

Maritime Centre


Sola Town Hall_Norway


Sola Town Hall_Norway




Socrem Temple_Pavia,Italy

Memory is for those who have forgotten. Plotino

Many suggestions appear when thinking on a funerary facility to contain the ashes of the dead,  in niches. A main one: evocation. Evoke is bring to memory the beloved …who have disappeared, remember and recreate their presence.

The project seeks for a double memory –single and collective-, a place for thinking and remembering, for evocation. The Socrem temple builds an heterotopia that will detach the visitors from daily routine.

The project aims to create a place of places. A garden for remembering, a garden of presences and absences.  Memory and oblivion are inseparable, the ancients knew it. Close to the Trophonios oracle, in Boeotia, there were two fountainheads where the consultants had to drink: the Lethe, fountain of oblivion, and Mnemosyné, the fountain of memory. Two essential springs, because, without some ability for oblivion, life will be unfeasible, but without memory life will be impossible. That´s why there are two fountains in our garden.



Viar Estudio - Pavia 04

Socrem Temple_Pavia,Italy



The aim is to create a special place for worship, where concentration, isolation and approach to God will take place. This is the main target of the project; to create the best place to pray.


Viar Estudio - Reykjavik 02

Mosque_Reykjavik, Iceland




Viar is interested in the route, in the force of thought, so the studio is involved in each project, seeks risks, fail, experiment, innovate … gets dirty as Karl Kraus (The task of the artist) said: “The artistic painter and the broad brush painter have in common the fact that they get their hands dirty at work. Exactly what distinguishes a journalist from a writer”.


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