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Alba Vila Garrido

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Ex alumno IED

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I’m going to look at two materials: concrete and straw. The core idea will be to reintroduce the use of straw as a vital material, and to recover its value, which has been lost.

The choice of straw is, as I see it, a sign of my Galician identity: because in the old Galician settlements, los castros, the buildings were made from straw and stone. Ever since I was a child this style of architecture has captured my attention. Since then, the straw has disappeared, leaving the building work incomplete. And this is the reason behind my rethinking its usefulness, as it’s a material with such versatile qualities (it is biodegradable, sustainable, cheap, and natural) and offers an interesting architectural potential that has been practically relegated to the countryside. The main obstacle are its three weaknesses: its incompatibility with water, the fact that it burns easily and that it is an unhygienic material.

I have counteracted these three issues by seeking the opposite qualities in another material: concrete. This brings a balance to the mixture, which boasts strength, fire resistance and great versatility. The goal will be to see how both elements work together and to see where they complement and intensify each other’s properties. The intention is to break away from typical combinations (adobe, reinforced concrete) and create a new material which offers different solutions.