Things That Are Only Themselves

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Collage, Students, Technical Drawing, Texture

Things That Are Only Themselves

Alejandro Carrasco


“Ok, Cuatro Vientos, we’ve had a problem here

Cuatro Vientos Airport is located in Madrid. Nowadays is considered as junk space due to the lack of activity on it, which is limited to a few non-commercial flights and pilot academy courses. Moreover is completely disconnected from an urban perspective because its line of contact with the city is a big wall, which separates the military base from Carabanchel neighbourhood.

Mirror_Alejandro Carrasco_Universidad de Alcalá_MArch_Actarchitects

What should we do then?. Cuatro Vientos Airport and Madrid Barajas Airport are the only non military airports in Madrid metropolitan area, so that helps to understand why should it maintain its original character related to aerial activities. So the first decision is to dismantle the military base in the north converting this area into public space, parks and equipments, letting people to go into the complex. At the same time a different strategy is proposed for the south part of the airport. There a intensification of the educational program is proposed, converting Cuatro Vientos in one big campus dedicated to aeronautics and pilot academies. Reusing, refurbishing actual buildings and connecting them through a big green area will make us able to revitalize the complex without demolishing what was there before.

TypicalPlan3_Alejandro Carrasco_Universidad de Alcalá_MArch_Actarchitects

LongSection_Alejandro Carrasco_Universidad de Alcalá_MArch_Actarchitects

ShortSection_Alejandro Carrasco_Universidad de Alcalá_MArch_Actarchitects

But in order for Cuatro Vientos to become a complete up to date campus, a new building is proposed. La fábrica de nubes (The cloud factory) is proposed in order to host those techniques that couldn’t be developed in other buildings due to the lack of space or technological possibilities. Virtual technologies, virtual reality, full flight simulators, droneports,…everything inside a single container that is able to change and adapt itself to the needs of the campus.Techniques and technology change along time, and buildings don’t usually respond to this variations. That’s why La Fábrica de Nubes appears as a reconfigurable box that today will host a flight simulation but tomorrow will be able to host a school, a museum…or maybe nothing.

A space to fly is proposed, a glass cube that has caught a cloud.

FloatingSpace_Alejandro Carrasco_Universidad de Alcalá_MArch_Actarchitects

TypicalPlan1_Alejandro Carrasco_Universidad de Alcalá_MArch_Actarchitects



Who influences you graphically?

Rather than highlighting one way of drawing I would say that my main reference when I have to represent my projects could be Luigi Ghirri. He represented the city and architecture as “things that are only themselves” telling stories through inhabited spaces where something happened, but you can’t see the action there anymore. In a way he lets you to create your own story out of the picture, and that’s what I try to do with my drawings. I strongly believe in architecture as something absolute, that can be defined itself, and that serves as a stage for life and human activity. Graphically I would say I really like to observe the work of both Edward Hopper and David Hockney, and talking about architects definitely DOGMA is my main source of inspiration.

What defined the graphic language of the proposal?

The aim of approaching the project both from a technical and an abstract perspective due to the requirements of the brief given for the workshop ended up leading to a combination of precise 2d drawings that respond and ensure the “physical” architecture and collages that represent atmospheres and other aspects more related to feelings and perception.

Clouds_Alejandro Carrasco_Universidad de Alcalá_MArch_Actarchitects

How do the collages sit in relation to the line drawings?

As I said before, they work together, and reinforce each other. Is was also important to fight against that people that think that industrial architecture is something boring and somehow pretty static by showing that artistic and technical approach can (and should) work together. Cedric Price and the Fun Palace were (and they should be) a good example of this.

TypicalPlan_Alejandro Carrasco_Universidad de Alcalá_MArch_Actarchitects

What was the role of the model in developing the proposal?

When I started the project one of the main proposals was to relate architecture to concepts such as the sky, flying, air…and the very first idea was just to build using air. Using architecture as a simple frame that contains air where all the activities and actions take part. So the model was trying to show this, the aim to reduce architecture just to a frame and a hanging ramp, proposing atmospheres where you can go up and look down feeling the scale and the real size of the space.


What defined the square format?

In one of the early stages of the project everything started to be related to the square. The plan was a square, the elevations are sections were squares, the axonometric view was a cube…and the images became also squares. When I started to draw the square format was perfect to represent this “absolute” architecture, so…why not?  In the end the whole pack was telling a story and squares where a big part of it.

 Hatchway_Alejandro Carrasco_Universidad de Alcalá_MArch_Actarchitects


Alejandro Carrasco is a M.Arch student at Universidad de Alcalá currently developing his thesis on Architecture and liberty deprivation. Interested in exploring new ways of representing and reading architecture and the city is co-founder of the think-tank @actarchitects where personal work and references can be found.


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