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Cabin crew: small holiday cabins, studies in spatial compression and use of prefabricated construction, bring life to abandoned mining works in Southern Spain.

The campsite at La Torerera, near the town of Huelva in the southwest corner of Andalucia, is on the site of old mineral workings, now partly a nature reserve. A new year-round aquatic sports centre has been opened by the Junta of Andalucia on the reservoir that formerly served the mine workings. One of the intentions of the project was, as far as possible, to avoid intrusion into the now beautiful landscape, and building has been kept small in scale and quite unobtrusive. A string of long, thin, single-storey blocks houses ablutions, laundry and a mini-market for the camping area, where people put up their own tents among the trees. A three-storey bar and restaurant sits on the tip of the site's little promontory. All these buildings are modest and unassertive (though the bar is perhaps a bit tall).

But the most arresting feature of the site is the row of thirteen cabins that fringes the southern shore of the promontory. Unlike the other buildings, which have concrete or brick walls, the cabins have sandwich panel walls, with polyurethane between an external layer of PVF2 coated aluminium and enamelled internal particle board. Roofs are of double galvanized steel sheets with mineral insulation between. These are carried on steel frames bearing on in-situ concrete platforms that project out over the lake to form balconies for fishing, boating or simply watching the sunset (the cabins are angled slightly south-west). South walls are up-and-over garage doors that allow each cabin to be thrown open to balcony and view during the day.

Individual cabins are masterpieces of compressed planning, with a double bunk over the tiny kitchen and lavatory that flank the entrance porch on the north end of the plan and a bench long enough for two children to sleep head to toe along the east wall. Externally, the cabins are a mixture of modern and ancient, with contemporary materials recreating a building type that goes back as far as the lake villages of the prehistoric Celts.

Architect

Ubaldo Garcia Torrente

Technical supervisor

Juan Luis Yanez Sempere

Photographs

Fernando Alda
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Copyright 2002, Gale Group. All rights reserved. Gale Group is a Thomson Corporation Company.

Article Details
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Publication:The Architectural Review
Geographic Code:4EUSP
Date:Sep 1, 2002
Words:347
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