Guallart Architects


Vinaròs,Castellón. Spain 2007

With Marta Malé Alemany

1st prize national competition

Vinaròs is a town on the Mediterranean coast of Spain, near the delta of the river Ebro, about halfway between Barcelona and Valencia. Its south shore is a succession of coves and promontories on a terrain composed of strata of easily fractured conglomerate rocks. The length of the coastline and the surface area of the municipality are constant changing as a result of the action of the sea, which produces continual land slippage and erosion. This zone has been developed with detached houses on small plots.

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. At the intermediate scale the place is of very little interest in urbanistic or environmental terms, given the proximity of the residential developments to the coast. The coves and points appear at first sight to be far removed from the ideal ‘virgin’ state of what could be described as natural. On the small scale, however, 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.

How big does a geographical feature have to be for it to have a name? Our analyses have made it possible to map micro-places of more than sufficient identity to deserve a name, thus breaking with the logic that a territorial event has to be big to be beautiful or worth naming. 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. These micros-coasts are organized to form islands of variable size, located where there is rock in close proximity to the sea. The platforms are composed of just two different pieces, one flat, the other with a microtopography, which serve to generate surfaces that can be perfectly flat or partially or fully folded. Their positioning on the coast is determined by criteria of access to the sea and interaction with the dynamic line of the original coast.

Following their installation, people were quick to appropriate the new micro-coasts and utilize them in a variety of ways. The relationship between the size, orientation and location of the platform and the number and social profile of the people using them is an interesting phenomenon in terms of the socialization of the space.


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
Collaborators: Rainer Goldstein, Christine Bleicher, Wobciech Szubinski, Csikvari Gergely, Marta Vieira Baptista, Julia Futò, Moritz Treese, Massimo Tepedino, Amaya Coello, Ignacio Toribio, Francesco Moncada, Gawel Tyrala, Diego Martin
Photography: Laura Cantarella, Nuria Díaz
Models: Christine Bleicher, Theodora Christoforidou, Fotios Vasilakis, Gabriella Castellanos, Daniela Frogheri, Fernando Meneses, Andrea Imaz, Marta Vélez, Laure-Hélène Pelissot, Filipa Barraquero, Asaduzzaman Rassel
Construction: Binaria
Wooden Platforms: Gestalt