ecumenical landmarks

Colomichico Visitor Center and Landmarks Competition
First Prize Competition.

Architect:Ignacio Montaldo, Cyril Beaugé, Aliénor Depondt, Martin Janssens, Dara Challoner.
Graphic Design:Nicolas Risso.
Location: Neuquen, Argentina.
Year: 2011
visitor center Area: 1020m2

A place is not merely the reality that existed there before the architecture; the architectural work contributes decisively to shaping the place in which it is located.
A first form in which the place has been architecturally considered is in its geographical dimension. The soil, and consequently its relief, constitutes the first reality interpreted by the architecture. The constitution of an artificial horizontal plane on an uneven ground constitutes one of the primary gestures of architecture. F.P.O.
We challenged ourselves that each landmark be a flexible space that could support the various functional requirements and, at the same time, be capable of valuing and strengthening the dimension of the landscape through the relationship between the object and the unrepeatable landscape scene.
Interaction with the different ecumenical landmarks will take place through a ®system®: a collection of elements that relate to each other based upon a set of predetermined rules but that allow for adaption among different scenarios.
The ®system® is defined by a terrace with dimensions 20m x 7m that supports the ®shelters-viewing platforms® typically made up of two components: a cube of 4m x 4m and a prism of 8m x 4m that can be positioned horizontally or vertically. Both elements of the system will be constructed of reinforced concrete poured in situ using wood formwork. The concrete mixed will be pigmented with black ferrite, further accenting its artificial position with respect to the site. These devices will act as shelters, which will protect visitors from the sun, rain, and wind and will create scenic picture frames of the landscape.
These concrete elements will support the proposal to relate the immensity of the landscape to the history of the original inhabitants of the region.
We propose the visitor center as the principal and articulating node of the entire Ecumenical Landmarks tourist route.
The building conforms to the defining features of the site, which is formed by the system of roads, the topography, and the stream. We propose situating the building with easy access from Route 43 and making use of the entrance road to the future hotel. Paradoxically, the close proximity to the hotel allows us to obtain the best views by allowing us to share infrastructure, thus minimizing the amount of mutual interference.
The proposed building is a very simple shed that extends in the longitudinal direction along the access road a length of 60m and a width of 20m. The width deviates slightly as it follows the path of the stream and seeks the best orientation with respect to the sun.
The architectural program is developed in the longitudinal direction among two programmed areas divided by a central service band that provides overhead illumination to the entire building. This central nucleus develops the building and generates a high degree of the flexibility for the two programmed areas, allowing for the independent use of the different parts of the program and additionally allowing for the modification of their use depending on future necessities.
We propose developing the structure in a very economic manner, using the same construction techniques for sheds that are typical of the area and using a system of porticos of galvanized steel.
The sealing of the building will be realized by a system of thermo-panel laid in a monolithic pattern and continuous throughout the entire building, conferring upon the building a monolithic character.
Openings are minimal and strategically placed to highlight the most important aspects of the landscape.