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The work hereby presented can be placed along a line of thinking related to the subject of conservation and sustainable development, including new proposals for approaching the subject of man in his relationship to nature. It is completely refreshing to find an environment as important as that of the wetlands (their relevance to humans is further discussed throughout the work), not only because (the project) is built amidst them, but also because in itself it contains an example of a wetland, which is included within the construction. What Paco Hernández and Lucas Mateo show us in Rudimentario is an entirely new approach to nature, to something higher, it is a path of seeking and finding that which humans must not forget - to be more humble and come to terms with their being a part of nature. Dr. Mario Clara University of the Republic, Uruguay / Rivera University Center and School of Sciences, Institute of Ecology and Environmental Sciences

Architecture Graduation Project Faculty: Taller Scheps / Facultad de Arquitectura / Universidad de la República Montevideo, Uruguay Online digital version:


The original format of Rudimentario is a 350-page book. These 6 panels are an attempt to summarize its contents.

Rudimentario / 01 P13-0803


On Rudimentario and the book Order This book develops through a downward path from indetermination and imprecise formulations, to take on shape and content by means of fragmentary approaches. Since its inception this was the method it was meant to employ; therefore, it is only honest that we display it in this manner. Keeping that distance allows us to elaborate certain statements towards an ambiguous and open resolution: aesthetic, theoretical, political formulations which function at once as triggers and search engines for imaginary landscapes, narratives and fictions which are then materialized by means of some of the resources which make up the project. Thus, there are three stages in the project and three fundamental chapters in this book: Imprecise definitions, Fictions and Components. The remaining chapters work as a link: the landscape of the wetlands and the geometry of the project.

Gestalt Shape as the by-product of an act of perception or as according to others, that the Gestalt is an immediate given and not a product of perception, but that it is the latter which is a product of the Gestalt. Perception, shape and fragments, this is the second order of the book. The chapter “Fictions” is a perceptual journey through the wetlands and the Rudimentario, Geometry is the face, and its anatomy Components, a coherent Gestalt of sorts where shape and perception converge. Left 1: Man Ray: Anatomy Series (1921) Left 2: Miyako Ishiuchi: Mother’s Traces of the future (2002-2005)


The diary of rudiments.


(Lat. rudimentum). 1. m. Embryo or primordial and formless state of an organic being. 2. m. An imperfectly developed part of an organic being. 3. m. pl. The primary studies of any science or career. RAE (Spanish Royal Academy) Below: VHE: Human embryo, stage 18 (44 days)

Fictitious conversation with Rem Koolhaas

A poorly subtitled interview 00:02 For the time being we shall name it.. 00:04 “Rudimentario” 00:05 Let’s say that since the beginning of the 20th century 00:09 the washing machine 00:12 air conditioning units and 00:15 heating and many 00:17 other technical aids invade and take over our homes. 00:21 We live in apartments, studios, lofts 00:24 and so many other new and modern forms of luxury 00:27 in order to shape our egos. 00:31 We need 00:32 more and more space, more and more things. 00:35 However, we should question our relationship 00:38 to the primary elements and their value. 00:40 In the past, we made fire to stop the cold 00:43 if we wanted to cook something, a fire was lit. 00:46 Now water comes from supermarkets

00:49 in an almost infinite variety 00:52 of bottled mineral water, or through the pipes in the wall. 00:55 The fire has vanished, in fact all the other light sources 00:59 have already been electrified to a large extent. 01:02 Even though we still use sunlight, 01:05 darkness has been eradicated. 01:09 Same as with heating, we control the level of the light 01:11 with our technological helpers. 01:12 We have to test ourselves 01:13 in order to go back to the elements. 01:15 This search leads us through remote woods, 01:17 high peaks and deep lakes. 01:19 Either in search of our own limits 01:22 or in order to escape the self-inflicted limits of the metropolis. 01:31 Elementary, basic, simple and minimal 01:33 even if in some way these are synonyms among themselves 01:36 they cannot avoid also a second reading. 01:38 One that drives us near the contemporary,

01:40 luxury and comfort 01:41 practically contradicting their own definition. 01:45 However, that which is rudimentary maintains its original qualities 01:47 it still generates an effect of simplicity 01:49 rough, rugged and uncomfortable 01:51 and even leads us a bit closer to harshness. 01:53 In a certain way, without comfort or luxury 01:56 environments become harsh 01:59 and probably so does whoever inhabits them. 02:02 Rudimentario is everything belonging to rudiment, 02:05 to the first studies of any science or profession. 02:08 Playing with the word, we will take rudimentary 02:11 as everything belonging to the rough 02:13 people who test themselves by returning to the elements. 02:15 Comfort and cutting-edge technology, 02:18 conditioning systems 02:21 seek comfort and luxury. 02:24 Taking into account these last years

02:26 sustainability issues also contribute to the agenda. 02:30 But it seems that maintenance is ever more disregarded: 02:32 use and throw away 02:35 the life-span of a construction nowadays 02:37 does not exceed some twenty years 02:39 we could then propose ourselves 02:41 an architecture that is elementary and rudimentary, 02:43 which barely needs any maintenance. 02:45 As another element of nature which, 02:46 regardless of how much its shape slowly mutates 02:48 it maintains its function and even its name. 02:50 In order to do that we will have to use 02:55 all the current technological know-how, 02:57 it is almost a paradox, 02:58 a rudimentary shelter of maximum technology. 03:03 (laughs...)

Imprecise definitions On imaginary landscapes and impossible architectures

On the influence of weather and of man

On longevity and luxury

Places that do not exist



A series of fictions, images, imagined worlds is proposed, based on which to create and simulate the proper atmospheres capable of suggesting how to stimulate an experience, an approach to that which is most primitive and elementary. Rudimentario is not strictly productive, but has an intrinsic hedonistic condition; it lacks a program, while perception and imagination constitute its base material. In some way it is a non-existing project, not as a finished object which responds to certain conditions but as a ghost capable of suggesting the mind, of turning architecture into a dream, an imagined place - architecture without an architectural form. In order to effectively amplify this stimulation, the subject must break apart from itself, and the object must also break apart from every possible architectural notion, there must be no recognition then of either subject or object.

Originally nomadic in nature, some ten thousand years ago man began to settle into groups which mainly developed agricultural activities. With these settlements, the impact on the environment and the biota came to light. As the population increased it was necessary to consider larger cultivated areas. In order to improve the efficiency of the crops, vegetable species began to be manipulated and some animal species were domesticated. All this led to man’s detachment from nature, considering that there was no problem with the extraction of natural resources. Up to the present, through technology, man learned to adapt to the weather and the territory to detect the kind of agriculture that could be practiced, the types of animals that could be hunted, the location of freshwater sources, and how to secure warmth or shelter. Now, he is able to alter both the vegetation as well as the land, even the weather. If he needs warmth he pays a monthly fee; nourishment can be obtained from the supermarket, and distances are no longer an obstacle. There is a saying that goes “the farthest, the fastest”. In modern cities the influence of time on the immediate environment is more contingent than ever: since practically none of the inclemencies of the weather can interrupt contemporary activities, nature has become domesticated. Nevertheless, there are still some activities where this influence is still very noticeable, such as open-air sports or air and maritime aviation, even some agricultural activities. It is mostly the people who carry out these activities who to this day maintain close contact with the environment and the weather, like few people from the city do.

The phenomenon of globalization the world is experiencing leads to a loss of identity of the communities involved. It is important that some conservation efforts take place in order to safeguard their memory and identity, in order for the communities to have a sense of accomplishment. Using and throwing away, everything has a planned obsolescence; this is more cost-effective for the industry and allows it to quench the thirst of consumption of the masses. If something breaks it is thrown away, nothing is built to last through generations anymore, everything becomes second-hand in periods of usually under two years. And if for some reason something needs to last, it will be at a high cost of maintenance, the most usual chronic disease of the construction industry.

Right: Jim Kazanjian: Untitled (bubble) (2010) Below: Jim Kazanjian: Untitled (fortification) (2010)

Abandonment The sole survivor of long-lasting architecture is possibly the entire industry of abandonment, docks, monuments and cemeteries, to name but a few. The abandoned seems to last longer; Rudimentario will then be deliberately abandoned at the periphery of the city, and its visitors will have to adapt to a landscape of great entropy. To achieve this longevity implies an alternative development of robust technologies capable of enabling endurance of an aggressive environment, and new techniques which allow for their implementation. Two orders are then established: one of great longevity, abandonment and no maintenance whatsoever, and a second order, ever-changing and adaptable.

Pilgrim The visitor is then a pilgrim of the primitive, someone who makes way towards a reconnection with the elementary, in search of that lost influence. There is a religious character in Rudimentario, a temple with no God or religion, but a worshipping of Nature. Above 1: Godfrey Reggio Koyaanisqatsi (1982) Above 2: Man Ray: La Priére (1930) Left: Alexander Supertramp: Self-portrait, last picture found undeveloped in his camera (1992)

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Above 1: S.S. Faith: first concrete ship built in the United States (1918) Above 2: Martin Roemers: Relics of the cold war Left: Lee Friedlander: Kate Will

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Wetlands and Fictions

Wetlands Faraway, so close

The paradox in the situation is the need for a place far away from the urban environment so as to establish a distance in finding that which is elementary. At the same time, a certain proximity to it offers a possible escape, a close-range pilgrimage. Instead of this separation between the urban scope and the Rudimentario taking place by means of the distance between parts, it is simulated through the physical effort involved in the actual getting to the place, by means of the occupation of a void within a metropolitan territory, faraway, but so close. This effort is also part of the experience of a “simulated pilgrimage” towards the elementary, at the same time as it protects the visitor from any urban footprint in the immediate environment. The visitor is isolated, with no land connections, like an island, the only possible access being through the water. Its location is imprecise at the Wetlands in the Santa Lucía river (Uruguay) and in close proximity to Arroyo Colorado, but without any indications to show its exact location. The visitor will then uncover it while treading the wetlands.

Wetlands in the Santa Lucía river

Wetlands are composed of three main elements which make up their physiognomy: Ecotones (transition environments between two homogeneous environments), in this case a transition between land and water. Their main components are then water, soil and vegetation. Water, as a temporary or permanent element; the soil has its own characteristics, which set it apart from adjacent dry lands, and vegetation adapts to the humidity conditions of the area (through hydrophilic plants). The broadest definition of wetland was drafted within the framework of the Ramsar convention (to which Uruguay subscribed in 1984), and defines wetlands as: “Areas of marsh, fen, peatland or water, whether natural or artificial, permanent or temporary, with water that is static or flowing, fresh, brackish or salt, including areas of marine water the depth of which at low tide does not exceed six meters”. This definition comprises everything from lagoons, rivers and flood plains up to shores and coral reefs.


Concrete cathedral

Tesselated cavern


Suspended garden

Juncus dolina

Horizontal observatory

Within an introverted perimeter, terraced and scaled slopes, with the noise of the water falling on them even more intensely than before, allow the visitor to tread through this immense artificial terrace. Thousands of rushes irrigate from the same river water which springs from an overhead canal traveling through the entire perimeter, overflowing towards the inside. A technology no more sophisticated than that of the Incas, yet sufficiently condensed within a situation of greater fragility and greater control of paths. There is no intent of productive farming but one of reproduction and concentration of biodiversity. The natural and aesthetic appeal is explicit, through the simulation of geographical features, a rudimentary oasis.

A topographical feature, an area with steep slopes which sink to the depths until discovering once more the water of the river beneath. An open-air depression filled with river water, like a young cenote of mud and reeds which varies in depth. The terraces allow the visitor to move up or down, letting himself become trapped by this humid valley.

Climbing up through the terraces one can reach some flat planes at the top, from where to regain sight of the environment of the wetland and its vast biodiversity. It is a place of contemplation and reflection, of grand views, a balcony 9 meters high which reminds the visitor of distance and isolation.

From close by and lost among the mist, it resembles a large unstable rock which at once appears to sink and elevate from the water. Like a face flush with the water, constantly getting wet and dripping off with its movement. The water level rises and falls daily an average of two meters, hiding and uncovering its shape, modifying it throughout the day; at certain moments a rock, at times a cavern and others a monolith, it is never the same. The size shocks the visitors but they also find the reliefs of its faces familiar; as they approach, resolution is enhanced and it is not difficult to take it for a bed of reeds. A rugged surface, solid and uneven, makes it difficult to decipher its contents and purpose, if any. Its shape is perfect at the top and incomplete towards the bottom, as if contact with the water had eroded it, like a cavern in the ocean shore, like a rock worn by the currents.

There are few points of access and they vary throughout the day, opening and closing as the level of the river rises. A giant tesselated roof of flat faces and sharp angles - like a cut diamond - provides quiet and shelter from the sun. Although they constitute several interconnected galleries where the temperature is low, the humidity and noise are naturally amplified by the geometry in contact with the water. It is the ideal home for fungi and vertebrae, which take advantage of the infinite hideouts to seek their habitat. Speleothems support this great rock at only six points of contact.

There is a more intense noise of falling water that attracts the visitor towards the only point of light cutting through the shadows and uncovering another world above, where one can walk through. The thickness is discovered, the monolith is in fact a sheet, acknowledging below and above, a cooler and warmer atmosphere, a more somber and a lighter space. In a gradual transition the Portal is exceptional in the cavern and allows the visitor to rise in a new discovery.


Wooden nests

Two scalpel cuts give way to the inhabitable thickness of the border, eyes which call upon the visitor to take shelter under a new waterless shadow from where to contemplate the rush-ridden valley from a certain distance. The perimeter displays vertical cuts through which the natural wetland can be appreciated and one finally understands that the perimeter crust is not massive but rather wraps around void space. It is a space for a new transition towards the nests which have parasitized the empty border.

Nesting the border, simple pieces find their place at the corners, like ephemeral constructions. Entering as if through a snail’s shell, where it’s difficult for the wind to find its way in, these nests offer the visitor a low-key enclosed refuge, a place where to rest, eat, bathe and warm up, although all these activities require unusual effort. The light is poor and diffuse. It enters with great difficulty, passing through several sieves as it outlines the bark’s silhouette. At night, the firelight is the only light source.

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Geometry Artifice

A base surface with equal sides 30m in length suffers a series of controlled topographical modifications, so as to rediscover the proposed fictions or come up with new ones, a shapeless architecture. The first step of the artifice is subdividing the plan into equal 6-meter modules. In this way, there is always a regular pattern on top of the planes, allowing to operate by displacing the height of the nodes of this grid and obtaining inhabitable spaces. The second step is to avoid double curvature. This is optimized by means of an aperiodic tesselation, so that every module is divided in two possible ways and can adapt to each particular situation.




The alterations which may be generated produce formal alternatives to the same topology of Rudimentario, exaggerating the depth of the cenote, or the height of the galleries, the opening of the access and the other spaces. This is the first correction the geometry suffers, and the primary geometric operation. In the horizontal plane the surface is still a 30x30m unaltered grid, subdivided into 6m modules. In the vertical plane, the height of each node must be corrected by multiples of one meter, so as to simplify the structure and subsequent stages. Finally, the cross sections between each edge can be collated and the possibility of generating continuities which simplify installing each bar for the calculation is analyzed. Horizontal slices and the resulting sections are always irregular, as in a natural cartography. The plan drawings are simplified for ease of understanding, and all slices follow a plane which is parallel to the surface. So far there is only one base surface for the geometry and a manipulated topography. The following steps will aim at duplicating the faces and iterating the same operations and corrections.

All of the faces of the surface are duplicated to generate a first thickness that has structural capacity. All of its edges constitute beams of variable inertia. At the points where they find their way down to the foundations they generate large gussets with sufficient loadbearing capacity so as to enable the existence of cantilevered elements up to twelve meters long. The lateral faces are again duplicated and the nodes without continuities in the border are displaced, generating the semi-open spaces which will then be occupied. Their borders are subsequently closed by means of an artificial crust of prefabricated structural panels (see chapter Components/Crust).

Each 6x6m face is a reinforced concrete slab which works under bending stresses of tension and compression, reducing the load on the beams. The height of these beams is adjusted by the difference between the nodes of each lower and upper face, thus forming a system of reinforced concrete beams which is the primary loadbearing structure. A calculation software is used in order to simulate this model, operating with three-dimensional bars (Cubus Statik, see chapter Components/Structure) with constant beam widths, the latter being the third correction. The nodes are adjusted and then verified once again, some of the gussets are overdimensioned for the sake of form (see Fictions/Tesselated cavern) and then the top edges are reinforced by means of a perimeter nerve in order to unload stresses onto the crust (see chapter Components/ Crust). Finally, the lower beam is reinforced (height) so as to reduce deflections. The final model is adjusted to a precision of 0.00 and modeled to its final form.



All the upper faces are sectioned every 18cm, generating a cartography of contour lines at a same height and enabling the height of the prefab elements to fit within the module. Each face (triangular) has a single piece which is cut at different lenghts and one is supported on the other. These pieces have three different heights, 18, 36 and 54 cm, with variable widths depending on the face over which they are installed. This cartography shows exactly the width of each piece to be cut (see chapter Components/Terraces)

A shelter, a park ranger base, restrooms and a support area are built on wood over four enclosing points. Both the occupation of the nests and the support facilities are independent from the primary structure and are exposed, enabling possible modifications to their use.

Support area 22 m2 h=4.11m Northwest overlook 15 m2 h=9.90m

East overlook 15 m2 h=9.90m

Park ranger base 45 m2 h=2.13m

Shelter 58 m2 h=2.31m West overlook 15 m2 h=9.90m

Access 6x6mts (height variable with the river’s level)

Roofed contemplation space 68 m2 h=3.03/5.19 m

Hydrophilic plant terraces 410 m2

Restrooms h= 19 m2 h=4.47m

Dolina h= variable (river level)

Horizontal sections

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Vertical sections

South overlook 36 m2 h=9.90m

Valley (accessible terraces) 590 m2











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Structure and Crust

Page 4

Plataforma3D Plataforma3D

02.04.12, 19:38 Statik-6 - Version 1.06


Load case LC2

L32: fzG -19.50 kN/m

As a bar model

L59: fzG -18.15 kN/m


L57: fzG L60: fzG kN/mL42: fzG -18.15 L79:kN/m fzG -19.65 -21.90 kN/m -19.50 kN/m

L23: fzG -19.50 kN/m L82: fzG L78:-19.65 fzG kN/m -19.50 kN/m

L53: fzG -19.50 kN/m

L40: fzG -21.90 kN/m

L38: fzG -21.90 kN/m

L33: fzG -18.15 kN/m

L12: fzG L7: fzGL1: fzG L14: fzG -19.50 -19.50 kN/m L8:kN/m fzG -21.90 kN/m fzG L41: fzG L2: -21.90 fzG L3:kN/m -21.90 kN/m -21.90 kN/m -21.90 kN/m -19.65 kN/m L58: fzG L43: fzG -18.15 kN/m -21.90 kN/m

L96: fzG -19.50 kN/m

L30: fzG fzG L10:-21.00 fzG L11: kN/m -21.90 L13: fzG kN/m L31: fzG -21.90 kN/m L16: fzG L15: f -19.65 kN/m -19.65 kN/m zG -19.65 kN/m -19.65 kN/m

L94: fzG -21.90 kN/m

L44: fzG L81: fzGL87: fzG L64: fzG L17: fzG -19.65 kN/m fzG kN/m -21.00 kN/m L62:-19.65 fzG kN/m L80:-19.65 -19.65 kN/m -19.65 kN/m L63: fzG-19.65 kN/m L61: fzG -19.65 kN/m -19.65 kN/m

The construction process is as follows: - A floating pile driver sinks down the piles through the seabed until attaining sufficient mechanical resistance through friction. - At these points the water is removed in order to build the corresponding 3 to 6-pile heads. - A mesh of metal beams is placed over these for supporting the formwork, being especially mindful of concrete waste when pouring. In order to reduce this impact, a secondary waterproof structure is placed below the slab and beam formwork to catch any spills. - After the parts in contact with the water are complete, the procedures are the same as in ready-mixed concrete. Prior to removing the formwork from the upper slabs, the exterior prefabricated elements (Crust) are put in place, constituting the final pieces of the loadbearing structure.

L28: fzG L93: fzG L22: -21.00 kN/mfzG L21: fzG -19.65 -21.00 L18: kN/mfzG L19: fzG kN/m L47: fzG L66: fzG L69: fzG L91: fzG L46: fzG kN/m-21.00 kN/m -19.65 L84: fzG L48: fzG -21.00 kN/m L67: fzG L85:L9: fzG -21.90 kN/m -19.65 kN/m -15.00 L20:L29: fzG fzG kN/m -19.65 kN/m L65:-21.00 fzG -19.65 fzG kN/m -19.65 kN/m kN/m L45: fzG -19.65 kN/m -21.00-21.00 kN/m kN/m kN/mkN/m -19.65 kN/m -19.65 -19.65 kN/m -19.65 L35: fzG L25: fzG -19.65 kN/m -21.00 kN/m L26: fL36: zG f L95: fzG zG L55: fzG kN/m kN/m L88: fzG L49: fzG -19.65-19.65 -15.00 kN/m L70: fzG L50: fzG -19.65 kN/m fzG L71: fzG L72: -21.00 kN/m L51: fzG -21.90 fzG kN/m L90: fzGkN/m -19.65 kN/m L68:-19.65 L6: fzG -21.90 kN/m L24: fzG -19.65 kN/m -19.65 kN/m -21.90 kN/m L89: fzGkN/m -15.00 kN/m -15.00 L83: fzG -19.65 kN/m L77:L27: fzG fzG -19.65 kN/m L76: fzG -19.65-19.65 kN/m kN/m -19.65 kN/m L4: fzG L74: fzG L56: fzG -19.65 kN/m -21.00 kN/m -19.65 kN/m L86: fzG -19.65 kN/m -19.65 kN/m L37: fzG L52: fzG -19.65 kN/m L34: fzG L5: fzG L75: fzG -19.65 kN/m L73: fzG L39: fzG -19.65 kN/m -19.65 kN/m -19.65 kN/m -19.65 kN/m -19.65 kN/m L54: fzG Page 10 Plataforma3D L92: fzG -19.65 kN/m -19.65 kN/m


02.04.12, 19:38

Statik-6 - Version 1.06 Section force My (Member axis) [kNm] for: TOT, Selected members

-3005.56 -711.96

-1418.40 -1192.54







In order to calculate dimensions, a preliminary 3D model is imported into Cubus Statik together with load estimations. As from the results, dimensions are adjusted in order to attain the final model, as indicated in the chapter Geometry. Cubus Software AG - STATIK 6 is an integral application for performing calculations of the first and second order for porticoes, planes and spatial structures comprised of bars.


205.90 -1090.57

-4615.23 -13251.30 -2741.33

2934.78 -1019.19

Three-dimensional bar model calculation (Cubus Statik)

Losas superiores: H.A. 350fck esp. 18 cm rec. 4cm

Pilares pantallas: Prefabricados en H.A. (Corteza) 400 fck alivianado con agregados de Misapor

Nr.: D:\TRABAJOS\Plataforma3D\Plataforma3Dv2.S6P

Vigas: H.A. 450fck rec. 4cm

Losas inferiores: H.A. 450 fck esp. 15 cm rec. 4 cm

Pilotes: Hinca de tubo D: 60cm 100ton c/u


As a structural skin


Cement rushes

The walls, dark and rugged, of a variable thickness between 15 and 40cm, offer an image that is very heavy and sturdy, only interrupted by minimal opaque openings towards the interior, a crust that allows to discover the trunk. The rugged finish provides a robust effect to the facade, although the surface behaves differently as the observer changes distance. From afar, it appears as a texture of vertical and oblique lines, resembling the wetlands’ panorama of rushes and, from up close, as the memory of the woven fabrics and byproducts manufactured by local artisans with native materials.

The starting point is a photography of a hand-made construction made with large reeds, simplified to 4 shades of grey. Since it is not possible to generate this kind of three-dimensional data for a CNC router, the outline is cut by hand on a polyurethane paper sheet, so that to each shade of grey a certain recess is assigned, for a maximum depth of 25mm. This relief is then moulded onto a rubber “carpet” to produce a type cast with beveled edges so as to facilitate separation from the concrete. Finally, the negative mold of this prototype is formed in plaster, and the textured rubber sheets to be placed inside the formwork are produced. A good release agent is used in order to maintain the original texture.

The type of concrete used for pouring (fck400) contains Misapor arids, making it lighter and with better thermal capacity. These sheets are applied to the formwork for 4 types of panels, at different widths, as indicated in the diagrams. Some are cut diagonally in order to generate the desired openings. Lastly, the corner panels for the vertices are produced, for a total of 9 versions of panel (4 types with their 4 cut versions and the corners). In total, 77 panels are obtained to cover the 4 facades.

Original cropped image (caballitos de totora, “little reed horses”, Peruvian watercrafts)

Greyscale negative for sample image and generating the corresponding depths

Deployed facades (The positive of the crust)

Deployed facades

Northwest axonometric view Type A: 28 panels / 6 open, Type B: 21 panels / 8 open, Type C: 10 panels / 2 open, Type D: 10 panels / 4 open

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Terraces and Nests


As a domesticated wetland Stepped paddies

Glass Reinforced Concrete

A stepped paddy or cultivation terrace is a horizontal surface built on slanted land, held by a wall or slope and used for agricultural purposes. A set of terraces is prepared on steep slopes where excavation is not possible. Given the strong topography, this system is adequate at maintaining constant flooding of the surface and allowing for the cultivated species to grow, generating a large artificial overflow valley, a fountain of sorts invaded by the species of the wetland. The system is independent from the upper slabs, with continuous prefab elements acting as protection for the structure and as a first waterproof barrier, while functioning as terraces. The terraces have a close connection to the features of the surface. Following the shape of its contour lines, the water slowly overflows - like an impluvium - towards the lower elevations until returning to the river. It almost behaves like a natural closed-circuit. Salicornias, juncus, cattail, foxtail and wetland species grow in the terraces, coexisting with larva-eating fish to avoid the presence of mosquitoes.

GRC is a composite material comprised of glass fibers projected onto a cement mortar base (or a special readymix) on several layers, creating an end material which maintains the quality of both components. Fine grain concrete is used to provide waterproof capabilities. GRC is mostly used for manufacturing cladding panels, since it allows for thicknesses of up to one centimeter and has good weather and corrosion resistance.

Molds As indicated in the chapter Geometry, terraces are generated by horizontally slicing the upper surface (reinforced concrete slabs) at 18cm intervals. Subsequently, consecutive terraces are added in order to generate greater depths with a smaller number of elements. As a result, 18, 36, 54 and 72cm, modulated, U-section elements of variable width are obtained for cladding of the different faces.

GRC U elements / Axonometric view: Dimensions, variable width and installation


As wooden shelters

Bases de bloque HCCA c/3m, sobre la que apoyan tirantes de lapacho de 3”x10”. Muros con tirantes de 3”x8”, clavaderas de 1”x2”. Estantes y espacios de pernocte con tirantes de 2”6”.

Tablones de lapacho machimbrado 1”x6” en piso y revestimiento de paredes y puerta. Mesada de Lapacho macizo 90x210 cm, depósito de leña debajo. Módulo central con estantes y estufa de chapa sobre base de HCCA Tirantes de lapacho con retardante ignífugo, 3”x11” c/15cm, separadores en A. Inox. Paneles de Fibra de vidrio e:25mm, 150x150 cm directo sobre la madera. Seis aberturas Corteza: Paneles de H.A. de 45x150 cm prefabricado alivianado con agregados de Misapor. Dos aberturas de iluminación

Tirantes de lapacho con retardante ignífugo, 3”x11” c/15cm, separadores en A. Inox.

Paneles de Fibra de vidrio e:25mm, 150x150 cm directo sobre la madera. Sin aberturas

Corteza: Paneles de H.A. prefabricado alivianado con agregados de Misapor. Una abertura de iluminación

Shelter Fire-retardant treated wood employing traditional technologies is used for the construction of the nests, so as to minimally condition the spaces for the activities of the users. The nests are closed and dark, natural light is achieved through translucent panels where the crust allows light to seep through, arriving at two possible scenarios: the separation between panels (general diffuse light) and the openings in the crust (intense interior lighting). Within the separation space between the translucent panels and the prefabricated reinforced concrete panels, openings of the same material are installed for ventilation purposes.

Shelter Plan

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Rudimentario / 06 P13-0803



Epilogue / online version:

Energy and Water


As a minimal resource Wind


Electricity is unnecessary. In fact, the shelter does not even have outlets, but an artificial lighting system is required for safe transit through the river and so that visitors can find their way at night, both underneath and on top of the Rudimentario. The park ranger also needs minimal electricity to be able to work and remain at the base for several days in a row. Taking advantage of the intensity and frequency of the wind in the wetland area, an aerogenerator will be installed, which can obtain a daily average of 1500W and a maximum of 4000W. This will be stored in a battery bank that will then be transformed to 220v to feed the general lightboard. The aerogenerator has a stand-by autonomy of 48 hours, after which the emergency generator starts to function. Since it is located far from trees and obstructions, it is possible to get operation speeds at good capacity at 15m. To avoid interference, it should be located at 20 times the height of the tallest element in the project.

A fiber-optics, centralized lighting wiring system is proposed, given that the terminals are mostly in direct contact with the water and in some cases even immersed in the river. Centralizing the projectors also means simplifying the electrical installation. Even if some losses may occur due to couplers and the wiring proper, there is no need for maintenance, since only low-intensity lighting is sought. Longer distances call for solid core type wires with diameters optimized to the respective terminals. These are encased within protected insulation for use in aggressive environments, offering a design lifetime of over 50 years. Energy-saving, long-life and maximum efficiency LED lamps are used, installed on 45W projectors, for a total of 36 projectors feeding 388 terminals in four electrical lines. The first one (L1) lights the lower area through terminals installed at the stage of concrete pouring. A second line (L2) is located on the risers of the terraces for orientation purposes on the surface; a third electrical line generates two strong indirect lighting spotlights amidst the planted species and the fourth line is the minimal lighting for the nests. The L1 lines run in between the slabs, L2 and L3 are placed between the U elements of the terraces and the L4 electrical line is suspended, in case of possible alterations to use.

Coupler + 2.5" recessed Cables solid core 7mm

Coupler +1.16" recessed

U GRC 80mm

Cables solid core 6mm

Imp Cementicio Superseal

Ui GRC 80mm

Losa H.A. Superior

Losa Superior nidos Anillo de sujeci贸n

Cable solid core 9mm Coupler

Cable solid core 7mm

Light Stick Losa H.A. inferior

Anillo de sujeci贸n

Cableado conformado

Losa H.A Superior

Anillo de sujeci贸n


Cableado conformado Anillo de sujeci贸n


terminal OPT CTRL-20

perimetral channel

As a natural component D 06

Natural circuit As in the case of the aerogenerator, an 8-foot mill is connected to the Rudimentario for permanent water supply from the river. Through a direct mechanical process, the river water is pumped by stainless steel pipes, feeding elevated tanks within each nest and a perimetral channel in the upper level of the terraces. The storage tanks provide the visitor and the park ranger with natural river water. After use, the drainage pipes return the water to the river without any treatment, since the wetlands themselves will process the waste water. Water usage is considered minimal and with a very low frequency, and it does not justify treatment prior to disposal. All the pipings, both of supply and drainage, are made of stainless steel and are is exposed, allowing for possible alterations. This installation is also of a secondary order. The perimetral channel overflows water to the lower terraces, irrigating the cultivated surfaces, and drains again into the river at the 3 lowest points. The rainwater pipes work in the same way, since the slopes of the lower slabs (second waterproof layer, apart from the terraces) are designed so that this take place freely.

water from the river

2 years time-lapse image shows construction process and nature in constant flux (by Santiago Vera)

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Rudimentario / Archiprix A2 panels.  

Graduation Project in Architecture. Facultad de Arquitectura - UDELAR. (Montevideo, Uruguay)