Accepted paper:

Setting off the landscape: the geometries of the setting out of buildings in coastal grounds


Ester Gisbert Alemany (Universidad de Alicante)

Paper short abstract:

For rethinking the tools of contemporary urban planning, I study the geometries used in the process of setting out buildings in different coastal grounds. I explore the relation between the controlling geometry of abstraction with the creative potential of material variations and misalignments.

Paper long abstract:

As part of a research on the line of the 'Costa Blanca', in Mediterranean Spain, I explore and rethink the tools of contemporary urban planning. I study how this territory has been transformed with the geometries that fix forms in the abstract space of Modern cartography. Specifically, a concrete geometrical operation, the offset, that is used to fix, from the line of the coast, the strip of public space that stakeholders will subsequently negotiate for the production of enjoyment. Placed in the hyphen between anthropology and architecture, I also explore this geometrical tool closer and materially. The offset becomes also the geometry of how things and people craft themselves together, in the process of abstraction that occurs every time two materials or bodies come into relation. On one hand, the offset shows the power of conventions set outside of the realm of making for coordinating different practices and, in the other, the offset shows the creative potential of variations and misalignments. I present the relations between these two poles, not opposed in practice, with the account of the work done as an architect and with builders, together with impressions of other designers, in the setting-out of foundations for buildings in this coastal territory: in cliffs, plains, landfill and alluvial terrains. As in every other craft, the beginnings of the work are key for the consequent growth of forms and a perfect place for rethinking how we both want to control the ground and allow creativity in our relation to landscape.

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Geometry and anthropology: description, projection, and measurement