Diploma Project

London, UK

Exploratory work and material investigations, leading up to final Diploma Project – a horse riders’ hostel at the edge of the village.

The simple myth of a “cabaleros” resting up for the night under a cliff, in the shelter of a tree with his horse next to him informs the brief, which is kept to a bare minimum. The intensity of the project comes across in the elaboration of habitation’s basic requirements; shelter, bathing and sustinance; as well as of the intimate relationship of the rider and his horse.

The coir strips form the roof and channel rainwater into water storage bags. These soft containers are arranged and gathered to form sleeping spaces for the riders. Each watery bedroom vibrates gently as the horse changes position in the abutting stable. The riders wash in spaces within the reatining lava wall, whilst the horses bathe in adjacent pools. As the lava becomes saturated during the annual rainy season, the bathing pools swell until cirtain routes become passable only on horseback.

The initial exploration of materiality and detail of the different building elements reverses the conventional design process of starting with the overall and gradually zooming, and the individual’s intimate experience of the architecture is investigated first. These elements; lava blocks, braided coir strips, rubbery water bags; are then arranged and rearranged until the strange, intriguing qualities promised in the initial explorations become fulfilled in the building as a whole.