'His purpose was to get closer and closer and closer.'
We keep wondering:
1. To help.
Our job is to help others to dwell - while constantly questioning if that’s even possible.
Making architecture is an act of empathy and generosity.
We don't believe in competition, we practice collaboration.
We don't have clients, we work with dwellers.
It is not a career, it is a journey.
It is not a service, it is working together.
It is not a business, it is a modus vivendi.
We must be useful to others and to the biotopes we transform.
From now on, constructions without ego.
Constructions that really welcome and help life.
As someone once said, 'everything is bullshit but the open hand'.
As a friend once told us, 'you will not get far, you'll get closer'.
2. Innovative craft.
Our job is to question problems, eventually recalibrating them, while not creating new ones,
so that people feel better.
This is so for the whole construction lifecycle:
from our collaborators to the builders, the users and the whole biosphere.
Each project unveils new needs,
sometimes we must develop specific tools for them,
by iterating and innovating (invenit).
Our job is to think and to make (fecit), so others can build and live more easily.
Our goal is clear and simple, the way is complex.
We devote our quality time to this.
Autonomy and freedom are our allies.
3. Closed cycle= At Hand + No Waste.
In order to give the maximum building the minimum,
we materialise adaptable, easily transformable human environments,
using locally sourced ingredients.
To gain inhabitable energy through building weather systems.
We learn from what's at hand:
Learning from local builders -their craft and obsolete, inefficient ways-,
our collaborators specific needs and el Camp,
we strive to create an informal net that's bigger than us, and will outlast us.
We need to evolve from parasites to a symbiotic relation with nature.
In order to achieve this, our priority is to use energy
that has not been transformed by man yet: sun, wind, rain...
To make the most of everything.
We strive to give the maximum comfort for others with no material and energy waste:
Our goal is to build the minimum necessary to fulfill somebody else's need -learning to do without-,
leaving no waste whatsoever and with a positive ecological impact.
We turn shit into manure.
4. To improve (from and for an environment).
There are no constraints, only possibilities.
Every obstacle on the way is a chance to improve.
From el Camp towards the Mediterranean
We work from and for a specific territory, among el Camp de Tarragona.
Minor places with leftover memories and forgotten presents.
We work from the premise that we can't consume more land,
and that we must give healthier habitats to it.
Far from any road.
The more we keep working, the more we keep learning, the lesser roads we find in our way.
Our constant questioning of reality and its possibilities lead us to uncharted territories, sometimes impenetrable, sometimes everyday deserts full of life, sometimes welcoming groves. It is a rather strange kind of loneliness that we have to keep learning to live with.
It is from and towards this wild, open, common yet extraordinary places where we're headed in search for the sources of our matter.
Knowledge, culture, tradition, science, design tools, are a light bag we carry from place to place, from project to project, not a paved road we can follow.
In these habitats, we are searching for:
'All of my work is directed against those who are bent, through stupidity or design,
on blowing up the planet or rendering it uninhabitable'.
William S. Burroughs.
Dwelling is collaborating
We listen to your needs.
From them, together we build the best possible habitat,
that can last, age and adapt to all changes
and uncertainties of your life,
and of others to come.
You are not our client. We work together to build up shared ideas.
Dwelling is living while building, building while living
Most of the inhabitants of our projects take an active part in the making of their place.
Some just paint or varnish, others build a whole part by themselves,
or with the help of local craftsmen.
Dwelling is transforming and adapting
All the habitats we build together are meant to be transformed by yourself,
and change yourself at the same time,
adapting easily to your journey in life.
Dwelling is leaving traces, but above all leaving no junk behind.
Developing local abilities and tools
In our towns we find a few remains of traditional craftsmanship,
and no prefabrication industries.
Sometimes we need to dig into lost ancient techniques and materials.
Others, we have to work on easy, rough solutions
that don't require highly skilled builders,
even venturing in the dangerous hot and wet trades.
On the meantime, we stubbornly develop a net of new crafts
and embrace self-build strategies.
Most of the time we do both.
We don't have a workshop,
but we are highly involved in the means of production of each of our works.
From degrowing to ungrowing
We are moving towards the use of closed cycle,
decomposable, direct energy and material systems.
Meanwhile we keep consuming less transformed resources,
less energy deposits.
It is a rigorous, complex search.
Needing less, learning from what's poor.
At ease in frugality.
Dynamic Weather Systems
Around here you could live outdoors for six months.
For three months the sun heats too much,
then for three months it is too weak.
You would die without a shelter.
We are looking for ways to take advantage of these situations.
There are some local dangerous variations:
strong northwestern winds, heavy rainstorms, seasonal floods...
Not only we protect you from them,
but try to turn them into something useful.
Here we find two ecosystems in constant tension:
heavy contaminating industries
(nuclear power stations, petrochemical hubs, tourist ghettos)
and a struggling rural world
(abandoned hazel tree fields, ramshackle farms, small towns).
How can we transform an environment generating no waste during its whole cradle-to-cradle process?
Our territory has a raw materials scarcity,
and a lack of clean matter and energy transformation industries.
We need to innovate to make new ones.
David Tapias Monné.
David is an architect, founder and director of aixopluc, aixoplucs, camp commons and little maps. aixopluc questions how we dwell with the world, by crafting custom-mande, site-specific and low energy habitats. aixoplucs is its hands-on, self-build, post-industrial, fabrication, open source techniques twin. the campboards is a camp commons net, reclaiming abandoned communal lands, improving their biotopes’ health and searching for endogenous resources in them. little maps is part of a traveling architecture unschool, cartographing how we can really learn to plan and construct our living environment. Each of these agencies convey twelve synchronic ideas -selfbuild, enoughness, after home, open source, easy does it, biotechnique, ungrowing, commons, meteorophilia, walking, architecture and unschooling.
He graduated from the ETSAB in 1999, and completed his PhD dissertation on the maison Prouvé in the same institution in 2013, in collaboration with the MNAM at the Centre Georges Pompidou in Paris. He is accredited as a Full Professor by the ANECA (Spanish Ministry of Education). David has learnt and taught at the ear URV (Reus), ESARQ UIC (Barcelona),The Frank Lloyd Wright School of Architecture (Taliesin West, Arizona) and The University of Sydney (Sydney, Australia); and lectured in numerous national and international architecture schools, institutions and congresses. His works have been published in several peer-reviewed journals, received multiple recognitions and exhibited at the Venice Architecture Biennale, the Chicago Architectural Biennial or the Cité de l’architecture & de patrimoine in Paris.
More at www.littlemaps.net
Associate architect and BIM manager.
architect, ETSAR 2016.
In aixopluc since 2009, Ricard is proficient in open system design strategies, BIM, modeling, and rigorous detailing. He is our building project leader and BIM architect. He was granted by an Autodesk Authorised Training Center Certification with the ‘Autodesk Revit Professional Certificate’ and is currently developing a Master in Digital Building for 3D Modeling and Construction in UPC (Barcelona), learning new techniques such as BIM colaboration, VR & AR, Dynamo, MEP systems and steel, concrete and wood structures.
He is aixopluc manager, and is also involved in the camp commons project. Among his previous collaborations, he worked in an Engineering & Consulting company, site manager assistant in a local construction company, and ISO & OHSAS supervisor.
Studio collaborators from 2003: Aida Espanyol, Pep Anglès, Marina Huguet, Laia Diaz, Gerard Fernàndez-Marmolejo, Didac Gonzalez, Maria Cartanyà, Gabriel Horrach, Carlos Gonzalvo, Daniel Chapman, Anna Castellà, Laia Martinez.
'Never forget what you had and what was lacking on the shelters you've been.'
Old builder's saying.
The brief outline of a workshop ungrowth.
We know our territory. We have been working the last fifteen years in the same place we grew up. Everyday we learn new things from it. We work in our childhood landscapes. We experience enough mistakes -'salutary failure'- so as to know which limits we need to explore and cross. We keep learning which questions to make, practicing rigour and precision in our daily explorations. We don't sell anything, nor we give any service. We help you feel at home in the world through modifying the environment as little as possible.
From the hard dialectic between exiles in our own land and feeling at home, we keep nurturing this mental spring.
Although we are not nomadic, our core team could move its working environment in a night. Then we would set camp in each of our construction sites.
Everyday, we end up being a very small-sized practice. It is not that we want to be big or small. Our natural way of working keeps shaping this ecotone's size and intercourses. We work to improve life, working together with very diverse people -for the common good and by building trust. We are not a proper workshop, with enough space and diverse physical tools, although we spend a great amount of time in others' workshops. Our mind is our main tool, our light. It is not better or worse than any other physical tool/means. Small we are and closer we'll remain.
We work simultaneously in as few projects as we can. We nourish with care a very fragile and evolving ecosystem. Often enjoying brief and intense procrastinating spaces in between commissions. When you welcome changes everyday, you don't experience any negative crisis. Naturally, we enjoy comfortable, fast projects. But we are also very interested in leftover commissions that nobody is willing to take. In recognising extraordinary potential in apparently dull situations. Turning apparent shit into manure. In fact, there are no bad commissions, just mediocre or egotistic architects. In a design process there are no problems, in the sense that all obstacles -exterior and interior- are a portal to improve this design.
There is no Re- in life. But somehow, our practice is born again after each task -the same but different. Most of the time, we don't know whether we'll still exist in five or six months. Yet, every year is better than the last. Not that we make more money, or have success and fame. But we work better, build better and give more. As long as we keep improving, creating win-win situations, we'll be around to try to help you, carefully posing new and old questions.
More at www.littlemaps.net