Transforming Stories and Atmospheres into Objects and Architecture
Terra de Asorei is the dream of six families who have dedicated their lives to the production of Albariño wine. They decided to join their forces in order to show the entire world how this wine is produced in Val do Salnés, creating a new wine from the vineyards of all the families that combines the best flavours, and creating a big net of people, a big team, who believes in this common project.
This was the concept that designer Pepe Barro used to give shape to the company logo, six A that conform a star together meaning: Asorei, Adega ( wine cellar), Albariño, Amor, Arte, Autenticidade. Six words that represent their values as a team and represent the six families.
We started to work with them, since they had bought an old industrial building surrounded by a big parking lot where they want to make their new home as a company.
In our first visit to the place, we realised how beautiful the landscape around the building was, full of green vineyards and their grapes, but instead, the big parking lot and the building looked tired, heavy and devoid of life.
We then thought the design had to be inclusive, we could not just think in the building, but instead we thought how beautiful it was to re-think in the entire micro landscape of the place, connect it to the general landscape, breaking the harsh limits that separated it from the surroundings.
Together with Terra de Asorei team we gave shape to an itinerary for visitors who can come in the future to visit the winery. Since the building is in the middle of many walking and bike routes, we decided to give priority to this kind of visitors, we think this is a decision that will contribute to defend a kind and quality tourism not just in the winery but in the region, so the valley preservs its nature, its identity and the lives of their locals.
This decision meant the conversion of a big area of the parking lot into garden areas with trees to welcome visitors. A big space with shadows of new trees to rest and bike parking, a garden area where to stop for a while before visiting the winery, and a nice fountain where to drink some water.
After this, the visitors begin their interior route of the winery in a big stone circular bench, surrounded by new trees and gardens, that eliminates more of the area destinated to car parking. In this big circle, the guide of the winery makes people feel close together, see each other, talk and get to know the history of the company and Albariño wine.
Then the visitors can enter the amenities of the building to learn from wine production, visit the museum inside, the offices… and meet the people that work in the company.
In order to make the building lighter and give it life, we thought about a new facade that could homogenize the building, which is a succession of different expansions over time, without connection. We thought we should connect it together using a light net, that surrounded the building and made it look united and alive. The net was created from the design of the company logo, the six A that give shape to a star. This net has different uses: from one hand it closes permeable areas making a game of transparencies, it makes possible the opening of big doors to help big trucks work inside of the building and permits climbing plants to grow.
The building will look different in the different moments of the year, the plants will change its colours as the vineyards change their colour too. Gold in autumn, red in the winter and green in spring and summer. Also the climbing plants will help decrease the temperature in summer inside of the building. This is not a new concept in the valley, as town houses usually used this method so they always had shadow next to their homes during the sunny months of summer.
Outside of the building we will also build the Eira de Asorei, an ¨eira¨ is a galician concept, an area next to the town houses with hard floorwhere villagers prepared the crops and eventually was the antecedent of a rural square of the towns where people met, talked and celebrated their parties and events.
So using a light design that will permit shadow above the eira, we designed a space close to the building where the winery can prepare events, theater plays, concerts, talks so it can be a place to get to know closer the wine and the valley culture.
Finally, and in order to continue with this path inside of the place, we thought about creating a route of sculptures inside of the vineyards, so people can enjoy art and nature at the same time. Since Val do Salnés is a valley full of great sculptors such as: Manolo Paz, Francisco Leiro or Paco Pazos and even Asorei, name of the winery comes after the sculptor Francisco Asorei, one of the most important sculptors in Spain in early 20th century.
Who influences you graphically?
I think the first time I saw an architectural image that really kept my attention and made me realise how much freedom we have in order to represent architecture was a proposal from British studio OMMX. From studying their projects I felt that this practice was a great example to follow.
I can´t just publish an image with no purpose, there´s always a message or a feeling we want to evoke, we always want to represent a little story about the projects we do. I really believe that us, people, are somehow made of stories, sometimes those stories as Es Devlin says, are just momentary scenes but they all contribute to make us dream who we want to be, where and how. That is why also many times other disciplines also help finding the right decisions for each project.
As a kid, I always dreamt about being a music video director, where you just have a few minutes to capture images for a song. Some music videos such as High Hopes from Pink Floyd have so strong images, that are always in my mind, so if an architecture image can create this effect, and make someone feel excited and get people understand a project, for me, things are working right.
What is the power and effect of the animated GIF?
Gifs can be really helpful to explain the phases of building construction, can tell how a building will mutate throughout time, can help comprehend how different parts of the project connect together or can just entertain by focusing in a little story inside of the project and its inhabitants.
In this project, Terra de Asorei, I had the pleasure to work with another galician colleague; Adrián González del Campo, who masters the art of the gifs, so we were using something he usually does, which is adding really big hands to the images.
I really love this technique because it introduces different scales into the drawings. By doing this, sometimes it feels the image is a model where someone, a really big human is explaining things and builds things as if we all were really tiny creatures so we look at it surprised and keep our attention like ¨what are those hands doing ?¨ ¨ what is going to happen next? ¨
What dictated the images through which you reveal the project?
For this project, we started producing some images for the clients, about how the winery building will improve its image. Through the process we realised that by just doing this, we were missing the most important of all, the environment where the building is.
Since we are working in kind of a magical scenario, the Albariño wineyards in O Salnés, we came up with a story to tell to all the people of the winery and the town, so they could easily understand and feel motivated about how the surroundings of the winery should look like. Sometimes nature can be the best tool to build, so we studied the plot, and thought about a path a family could follow, when they visited the winery.
The images are structured in order to explain this path, that begins by how we want to get to the building, giving priority to bicycles and walking routes. Later we explain how different abandoned spaces of the land will be activated with vegetation and cultural activities that make visitors understand the lifes of the people that make possible wine process. It all ends with a big party in a new space the winery will have, a contemporary ¨eira¨ or flat floor in the galician nature, a space to socialize and enjoy nowadays country living.
To what extent does your method of representation reflect how you operate as a practice?
Our practice name, Gramática Arquitectónica, was born as a desire to keep always learning and try to always spend time on teaching in our drawings and images what we have learned.
I think this is why we always try to make simple images, that help us show everybody, not just architects, the main ideas or concepts of the projects. We like using sometimes minimal collages for instance, to focus on a simple detail, or sometimes we follow more comic alike to represent an atmosphere.
We also like the to use words. As I learned with architect Sou Fujimoto, sometimes words and their different combinations can create the most powerful imaginary places or forms. Poems, simple words, or even a dictionary sometimes has been an inspiration. Words always have the ability to make different people imagine with infinite freedom.
How does the white background inform the images?
Usually we like framing things, by framing we separate something from reality, you inmediately give the object its own world.
By framing an image in a white or black background, the image has a small space where to express itself. We even do this with our physical models, by placing a base under it, the model suddenly travels to its own paralel reality, so everytime you see them, you feel that you really transport to that other place.
I feel that our lifes are somehow infinitely framed, each appartment, house, interior space is a frame of a small portion of life or reality, who knows, maybe we are just living in a really big framing business, and we keep jumping from one frame to another, being virtual or real. Maybe that is beautiness after all. That continous changing of atmospheres.
¨Gramática Arquitectónica’ is a studio and a team. Based in Galicia and Mexico, works creating stories and atmospheres that later transform into objects and architecture. It is a practice focused in humans, their lives, landscape and urban spaces. Founded in 2017 by a quantity surveyor, a draftsman, an engineer and an architect.
Teresa Sánchez Táboas received her diploma in Architecture from the ETSAM in Madrid. She studied for a year at the Illinois Institute of Technology were her final project with Sou Fujimoto as teacher was part of the Open House exhibition. Did also studies for a year at Faculdade de Arquitetura da Universidade do Porto. She really likes books. ¨