Acatlán De Juárez, Jalisco México. 2013-2018.
The project is about the development of a large campus for a Corn Company. Due its size, this industrial commission first led us to think about the possible relations of a set of buildings on the landscape, but soon we realized that we had to understand the project as a landscape where the buildings, the open spaces and the country side needed to be considered simultaneously. The master plan shows the character of the site, the geometry of its plot and the layout of buildings. The layout of the campus is related with the processes of harvesting, transportation, sorting out, packing and storage.
If we talk about the history in European Romantic Tradition paintings, using examples like the work of Caspar David Friedrich and William Turner, we can highlight the relationship between man and nature. But we can also observe the process of abstraction in painting, for example in the painting entitled The Monk by the Sea, where Caspar David Friedrich places a viewer in front of a landscape whose definition has become blurred but appears as a very strong force.
Some authors have claimed the possibility that Mark Rothko evoked landscape paintings by Friedrich, and therefore can discuss a sense of continuity between their works; but what is interesting to us is that we also learned from these paintings about deepness and in between spaces: we understand the late work of Rothko as spaces in between color fields with a sense of spirituality. The paradox in our work consists in the idea that abstract color field paintings by Mark Rothko also made us think about outdoor spaces, just as happens in the work of Friedrich, but we return to the theme of the landscape by placing abstract built volumes on it. We are proposing a round trip from landscape to abstract painting and back to landscape with abstract buildings.
Maybe the words of the architect John Hejduk can help us to understand it through an analogy:
“If the painter could by a single transformation take a three dimensional still life and paint it on a canvas into a natura morta, could it be possible for the architect to take the natura morta of a painting and by a single transformation build it into a still life?”
Our proposal for the campus recalls all these ideas as a way to return to the subject of the landscape, but not as a painting matter but as spaces between buildings and nature. That is the reason of the buildings to have the condition of limit in the countryside, acting as large abstract solid volumes that determine outdoor and indoor spaces.
According with the topographic characteristics of the land, we had to propose at least three different platforms to facilitate all these industrial processes, translated into a programmatic facts and as a landscaping approach for the buildings. For that reason, from far away, the buildings may appear to be semi buried, diminishing its presence on the landscape.