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Global Architecture Platform


MOUNTAIN, the third TRANSFER's Monograph on Natural Conditions, explores the relationship between architecture and landscape in environments of extreme topography.

Pizzo Tambò, Graubunden, 3279 m © Jan Abellan

The mountain as a place apart, a special place. Distant.

As a bleak, inhospitable place, where architecture highlights protection and insulation, one of the themes that underlie our activity.

And then, in all cultures, mountains—some mountains—have sacred conditions, direct contact with divinity: the magic mountain. (I am thinking of Montserrat, Tindaya, Huayna Picchu, and many other places where architecture accompanies by constructing ritual, sacramental places).

The mountain as another situation of limits, as a final moment between earth and air, somehow symmetrical to the island, the interaction of earth and water. The architectures that we find so intensely here also draw on the relation between tradition and present, between endemism and cosmopolitanism. (1)

The mountain as topographical irregularity, as inclination, where we, necessarily, have to introduce flatness, the horizontal surface. Tension between the ascending verticality of the earth and the need to build the horizontal—our habitat.(2)

Transfer proposes a journey to the extreme conditions of architecture: Desert, Island, Mountain. It is an extreme and probably essentialist idea. From here on, we will move from the limits to the centre, trying to leave behind the edges and get closer to the nucleus.


See TRANSFER Monograph 02 ISLAND, Profile Paulo David.


See TRANSFER Monograph 03 MOUNTAIN, Found Paper “Platforms and Plateaus” by Jørn Utzon.


Proposal by Eduardo Chillida for the intervention in Tindaya, the ancient sacred mountain of the Guanches (primitive inhabitants) on the island of Fuerteventura, Canary Islands, 1985.

Source: CHILLIDA Leku, Exhibition Catalogue (Barcelona: Fundació Caixa Catalunya, 1997), p 96.

23.Dec.2016 5202 views
Josep Lluis Mateo Josep Lluís Mateo

Josep Lluís Mateo (Barcelona, 1949). Architect ETSAB (Barcelona High Technical Architectural School). PHD (with honors) at the UPC (Polytechnic University of Catalonia). Professor em. Dr. of Architecture and Design at the ETH-Zürich (Swiss Federal institute of Technology). He has taught and lectured at leading academic and professional institutions. His practice, mateoarquitectura, is globally active and it aims to connect intelligence and artistic ambition with pragmatism and objectivity. It has won many prices and awards; his body of work has been worldwide published and exhibited.

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