in spain‘s basque country, arquimaña contemplates the relationship between architecture and the natural environment with ‘BORDAK’. located in a rural site outside the small village of ataun, ‘BORDAK’ is a contemporary reinterpretation of a vernacular basque hut. the project was commissioned by atari, a cultural association that aims is to bring basque architecture closer to all audiences.
the borda was set up next to the river in a rural location
images courtesy of arquimaña
traditional basque huts — called ‘borda’ — were typically made of timber and or stone. often located on higher ground, bordas were commonly composed of two levels. the first floor was used to shelter animals, and it was called ‘ikullu’. the upper level, on the other hand, was used to store grass and straw. the structures were built on land owned by the farmer and on some occasions, they would even sleep there. many bordas eventually became farmhouses, especially between the 17th and 18th centuries.
a bench gathers around a fireplace on the lower level
arquimaña‘s BORDAK has been erected on a tree-filled site near agauntza river. the design is divided into two levels to preserve the essence of the original borda. the lower level offers a sense of community with a circular bench for visitors to gather around a fire. alternatively, passersby can just sit and look out at the surroundings.
the farmer planting grass seeds around the structure
you can access the upper floor via a ladder, which leads to a space for two people. this space receives natural light through a transparent dome in the ceiling. in homage to the tradition of basque mythology in the region, the interior has been designed as a mystical, gold-lined place to observe the trees, the stars, the sky, and the weather.
in homage to traditional basque mythology, the interior is designed as a mystical place to observe the trees, the stars, the sky, and the weather
the structural pieces were all CNC cut by a local carpenter to facilitate easier transportation and a quick assembly on site using just handtools. the upper level is clad with cork and felt, which were chosen as soft and natural materials that could be worked by hand. in order to leave the smaller footprint possible, a screwable foundation was used so once the borda is disassembled it is possible to unscrew everything and leave the ground as it was. BORDAK was built over one weekend by arquimaña and a group of volunteers, who even worked through storms ernest and dora in december 2020.
video courtesy of arquimaña
the verticality of the borda establishes a dialogue with the trees
the entrance faces north to protect from the strong south winds coming up from the valley
the borda in the landscape
the dome on the top prevents snow from entering inside while still allowing for natural light
exploded view of the elements that make up the borda
all the pieces were CNC cut by a local carpenter for easy transportation and assembly on site
different typologies of a traditional borda
project name: bordak
location: ataun, spain
edited by: lynne myers | designboom