The Adaja Dining Room responds to the climatic extremes of the city of Ávila. Built in the 10th century high above the plains of Castilla y León the city acted as steward to the rivers, forests and fields beyond its walls. The Dining Room engages directly with this landscape as a provider for Ávila. Situated in the south west corner of the city, bordering the Adaja River, the proposal plays with the idea of communal dining; of gathering around a “table” as a way of engaging with the city, its cultures and histories.
The concept of a table derives from earlier architectural investigations where small gate-like architectures gathered around a wooden deck. A new civic surface for the city, its citizens and most particularly the pilgrims of the Camino on their way to Santiago de Compostela. The shared surface-deck-table became a vital aspect of the development of the thesis, acting as a drawing device which redrew, rescaled, and manipulated the part of the Camino de Levante that journeys through the walls of Ávila into its site. In this way, the proposal carries elements of the city’s contextual inscriptions in its spatial arrangements, structure and materiality.
The Adaja Dining Room is a space of eating around which small architectural cabinets gather. These cabinets allow for the processing and refining of produce collected from the landscape. The project as kitchen, dining room and market offers spaces for the growth, harvesting, preparation, preservation, sale and consumption of food.
The program of the thesis employs the implimentation of the farm to fork stategy which promotes sustainable food production, processing, consumption and reduces food waste.
The Adaja dining room project infuses this strategy into its food production and processing chain by incorporating a mini herb garden and food processing chambers (smokehouse, salting chamber & Fermentation chamber). The food processing chambers have become part of the food chain in this mini ecosystem where is main job is to preserve fish, meat, fruits and vegetables using traditional food preservation methods.
The herbs grown in the farm and, the meat perserved by either smoking or salting the vegetables and fruits perserved by fermentation are all ingredients used to prepare the food in the kitchen. This food is then eaten by the locals in the dining pavilions. Any excess food or herbs that havent been cooked yet will be sold in the market to the locals , hence providing fresh produce daily.
The thesis of this project, uses a physical table model from the end of the first semester as a preliminary and a tool for exploring the graphic architectural language. Set within the table, the role of the drawing device is to facilitate the drawing, rescale and overall manipulation of the urban layout of the city of Avila. The following drawings show the several actions that were performed on the urban layout of the city of Avila.
A moment of interest is the intersection of the River Adaja & the Camino de Levante. This intersection holds an important relic/ruin. This site used to be a tannery where the jews from Avila engaged in dry cleaning and leather tanning.
The gate , Puerta de la Adaja en la Muralla de Avila, led to the vegetable gardens, country properties & craft areas.
The physical model has become a drawing device to redraw, rescale and manipulate the city of Avila.
The garden model has become an “anchoring device”. It has been anchored into the exsiting gates of the Avila wall that passes through the straightened pilgrimage. The new path passes through 3 gates; Rastro gate, Puerta de la Santa, & gate of San Segundo. The gates become plugs for the armature to latch on to. The process of anchoring helps to manipulate and compress the straightened path into a new cityscape for the gates to be seeded into.
Sections of the new cityscape; the compressed journey of the camino de levante that goes through avila. The process of slicing includes taking 7 vertical sectional slices of the cityscape. These sections carry with them information of relative elevation profiles across the field.
The new cityscape begins to nestle and situate itself into a new site alongside the gates from the first semester. The gate is seeded in the new cityscape hence giving its tectonic and material language to the site. It becomes part of the landscape with the inscriptions and surfaces of new ground.
The result of straightening and anchoring was a rescaling and redrawing of a selected part of the urban layout of the city of Avila. This process has resulted in the folding and layering of the old town’s grid, which was characterized by irregular narrow streets and alleys that often burst out into small plazas. The result is a rescaled and redrafted urban layout that retains the historic charm and character of the old town. The straightened and anchored grid of the old town has been carefully scaled down to fit within the confines of a new site, resulting in a compact and efficient urban form. The irregularity and narrowness of the streets and alleys have been preserved, and the small plazas and corners continue to provide unexpected glimpses of the city’s historic architecture.