La Catenaria y EL Arco

Santiago del Águila joins us for his first appearance on the Architect-US Portfolio Challenge with his project called La Catenaria y El Arco, which he submitted to the Insòlit festival. A festival which is held in Palma de Mallorca, Spain. The main theme of the event is to rise interest and awareness about the rich cultural heritage present around the city, particularly on traditional houses from the historic urban center of Palma and their courtyards.

For one week, scenic or interactive installations, invite the general public to enter and discover the inner workings of these cultural houses. For this year (2019) the guideline theme proposed, in the design competition brief was: Contradiction.

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The Can Balaguer, designed by the architects Flores & Prats, is organized around a courtyard composed of a succession of stone arches that generate a porticoed ground floor. They are interested in those arches. The arch is born as a structural solution that allows it to span over greater lengths than a lintel could withstand on its own. It was born as a challenge of the human being against the action of gravity, with the aim of joining the banks of a river, of a cliff, or of delimiting, as is the case, a porticoed courtyard.

However, with the discovery of steel, the design of structural elements of large span such as the funiculars or the catenary arises, which allows, with much less material, to solve the same problem in a more intelligent way, taking advantage of gravity in our favor. They are interested in the contradiction between both geometries, that of that arch and the catenary: One weighs while the other is light. One is compressed while the other is stretched. One fights against gravity while the other uses it in its favor.

Please visit Santiago’s Portfolio by clicking HERE!!

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What kind of project would you submit to a design festival centered around preservation of culture? Leave us your thoughts/insights in the comments section below!! 👇👇👇

Project: La Catenaria y EL Arco
Competition: Insòlit Festival
Location: Can Balaguer, Palma de Mallorca
Authors: Santiago del Águila & Manuel Bouzas

Images by Santiago del Águila

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