Vinaros town, Spain’s Mediterranean coast, has a powerful rocky piece of land on the edge of its southern shore. Its dramatic location is matched by continuous changes due to the action of the sea. In response to the above, detached houses on small plots are long-drawn-out in the area until this project called Microcoasts. Microcoasts consist of a world of platforms put together to effect in an architecture beauty nestled into the nature that surrounds it.
To take on the overall design of the project Vinaros City Council along with Generalitat Valenciana and Tourism Ministry commissioned Barcelona-based architects Guallart, (whose work has always been frequently public-space-specific). Upon this partnership, the resulting project, Microcoasts, is a tribute to this region and a gentle touch to nature.
According to the architects, ’Our project has consisted in establishing a mechanism with which to measure the coast, on the basis of the creation of hexagonal timber platforms with a constant length of side based on the scale of the human body.’ Inspired by the surroundings they say: ‘This project can be taken to exemplify the way the scale of the gaze is the key to perceiving the logic to be acted on. It becomes clear that this sequence of coves and outcrops, micro-inlets, pools of seawater, stones eroded by the sea and rocks shaped by the tide has an exceptional beauty.’
As it is indicated in the name, these micros-coasts, that some would deem as islands, are stretched where there is rock in immediacy to the sea. The Microcoasts is a series of geometric wooden platforms that stand in contrast to the wild nature around them, without disturbing it. They are composed of two pieces one flat and the other with a micro topography, both of the greatest geometric design based around hexagons. Perhaps the best example of this striking architecture is their volumetric sequences; these platforms are all facing in one direction, allowing the sunshine and the blue ocean to soak them.
In the details Microcoasts succeed as a refreshing example of modern architecture intervening on its surroundings.
The architects took a full-scale approach to the project, sourcing all of the plausible options to ‘tame’ the rocky promontories of the coast. After all, they have managed to transform the site into a new social, tourism destination, while at the same time protecting the fragile environment. Guallart architects chosen carefully the best available access points to the coast. They civilized the coastline without urbanized it. Besides, with their wooden installation, Microcoasts can be removed in the future without leaving any irreparable trace to the natural setting.
Orientated strategically and carved likewise sculptures, they offer their visitors the perfect view. Thus, there is no wonder why the heavy crowd is staying for hours upon hours on Microcoasts turning them into all-day beds and entertaining decks.
Words: Maria Passarivaki
Construction date: 2004 / End of construction: 2006 / Client: Vinaròs City Council, Generalitat Valenciana and Tourism Ministry / Site: South Coast, Vinaròs / Architecture: Guallart Architects / Main architects: Vicente Guallart, Marìa Díaz / Geometry: Marta Malé Alemany/ Construction: Binaria / Wooden Platforms: Gestalt