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Bask in Built Form

Part 2 Project 2009
Sebastian Venn
University of Plymouth, UK
The rugged determination of the Basque people reflects the rugged landscape. This is evident in the landmark sculptures, pre 20th Century architecture and routine life of the inhabitants. The recognition of this identity is weakened by the recent built environment at the site of this project which lies in Pasaia Bay on the North Coast of Spain.

This proposal for a mixed use development is rooted in the landscape through its form, massing and material, inspired by and evoking the landscape’s inherent qualities.
Substance and robustness whilst displaying impermanence and evolution are qualities that are explored through a design process of ‘weathering’ which reveals form, space and opportunities.
This process lends itself to redefining the edge condition of the bay, creating humane spaces with glimpses of open water that enhance the sense of place. This is fundamental in the regeneration of the town, whilst allowing its inhabitants a more intimate relationship with the landscape.

Being in harmony with ‘the nature of’ Pasaia Bay the proposal responds to present economic and social demands whilst anticipating growth and allowing adaptation.

Sebastian Venn

Ground…landscape…substance…time…change; these words echo in Sebastian’s work throughout the year. Beginning from an initial examination of the city, image and identity, articulating a sense of place both at one with the landscape and open to change over time, Sebastian continued to explore and develop these themes in his final project sited in Pasaia Bay in San Sebastian, Spain. Evoking both Basque sensibilities towards the land and materiality, his proposition also reminds us of the impermanence of presence; even the most substantial is reducible. Yet this dissipation is not about loss, and engages us in perpetual state of becoming. Like the Basques themselves, fiercely proud of their heritage and yet simultaneously willing to embrace new ideas from outside, his strategy for the building and site anticipates (without predetermining) the erosion, discoloration and growth that will inevitably occur, qualities which were explored in various maquettes built during the project. Such investigations were further supported by studies of both the natural and built environment, and subsequent “games” with this raw material enabling him to play with the transformation and resolution of the building’s massing and envelope as well as the development of the site.

Robert Brown

Mr Robert Brown
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