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ARQ (Santiago)

versión On-line ISSN 0717-6996

ARQ (Santiago)  no.97 Santiago dic. 2017 

Works & Projects

Undo, distill and choreograph: Three notions for the landscape project. Cap de Creus, Cataluna, España. 2005-2010

Martí Franch1 

1 Socio EMF, Barcelona, España.


If revalorizing architectural heritage usually means to take the building back to its original state, the same should be valid for landscape. However, in such case, taking landscape back to its original state implies getting rid of architecture. This project shows how undoing existing buildings can also be a design project to recover the environmental value of a previously inhabited site.

Keywords: deconstruction; subtraction; process; ecology; rehabilitation

Source: © Martí Franch

Figure 1 Overview initial situation. 

Source: © Martí Franch

Figure 2 Overview final state. 

I use these lines, and the twelve years that separate me from the unusual commission to deconstruct the Club Med holiday resort in Cap de Creus, to point out three notions we discovered with this project: undo, distill and choreograph.

Doing by undoing as a seminal project action was the first gift of an assignment that subverted both time and the established logic. Designing the deconstruction of the Club Med’s 430 buildings and urbanization meant protocolling, through a Decalogue, a process of subtraction and recycling: a removal plan that, facing an ordering plan, ignited natural dynamics of ecological restoration.

Source: © EMF

Figure 3 Deconstruction and waste management process. The action plan is a process, an extraction protocol of the Invasive Exotic Flora (FEI), building deconstruction and waste management - valorization. 

Source: © Martí Franch

Figure 4 Punta d’en Pamperris and the Gran Sala del Pla de Tudela in 2005 and 2010. 

Source: © Martí Franch

Figure 5 Terciary path. 

Fuente: © Pau Ardèvol

Figure 6 Pegmatite road. 

Orchestrating a careful destruction of the holiday city to restore the site of Tudela-Culip not only echoes a contemporary call but also restores what Salvador Dalí had asked his friend Pelayo Martínez, the architect who drafted the Club Med project:

This place between the Camel and the Eagle that you know and love as much as I do, is and must continue forever to be pure geology, with nothing mixing it; I make it a matter of principle. It is a mythological place made by gods rather than men and must remain as it is.2

The action of distilling, discovering and recognizing ingredients, proportions and processes is foundational.

Figure 7 Restoration and public use project superimposed on initial urbanization state.. Legend: 1. Main path; 1a. Pegmatite tranch; 1b. Main path removed; 1c. New rear beach path; 2. Secondary path; 3. Terciary path; 4. Viewpoint. 

Source: © Martí Franch

Figure 8 Nature work. 

Once recovered the place of Tudela-Culip, the second subversion was to transform what was a strict mission of demolition and ecological restoration of a natural habitat into a project of landscape rehabilitation. We believed in enabling the place for a new form of soft, sensitive tourism. A sort of landscape (anti)monument.

We walked the area many times, in different conditions and with different sciences. We also listened and collected everything that built up a story. Thus, we talked to geologists, botanists, soil scientists and experts in beach dynamics. Then, we looked for texts, paintings, postcards, films or myths devoted to the place.

Source: © EMF

Figure 9 General plan. Published scale 1: 7.500. Legend: 1. Entrance; 2. Camell viewpoint; 3. Dispensari viewpoint; 4. Information point; 5. Illa de Portaló viewpoint; 6. Punta d’en Pamperris viewpoint; 7. Riera Francalús viewpoin; 8. Culip viewpoint. 

This way, we added a new dimension to the project: turning the visitor into an explorer. Our proposal consisted thus in translating such knowledge and imaginary into the layout, in situ, of a network of different nature paths inviting to discover the landscape. We borrowed from Halprin, Long and Smithson the notion of choreographing (sequencing) experiences. Thus, as in a road movie, we alternated sequence and fixed shots to unveil panoramas, focusing the attention on the erosive shapes carved by the wind and listening to the waves breaking on the rocks.

Source: © EMF

Figure 10 Dispensari viewpoint. Published scale 1: 200. 

Source: © EMF

Figure 11 Dispensari viewpoint. De arriba abajo: section AA, section BB, section CC, north elevation. Published scale 1: 100. 

Source: © Esteve Bosch

Figure 12 Illa de Portaló viewpoint. 

Source: © Pau Ardèvol

Figure 13 Animal rock identification. 

Source: © Pau Ardèvol

Figure 14 Dispensari viewpoint. 

Source: © Martí Franch

Figure 15 Dispensari viewpoint. 

Source: © Pau Ardèvol

Figure 16 Dispensari viewpoint. 

Tudela-Culip environmental restoration

Architects: Martí Franch, EMF Arquitectura del paisatge + Ton Ardèvol, ardévol consultors associats SLP

Collaborators: M. Batalla, M. Bianchi, A. López, G. Batllori, L. Majer, C. Gomes M. Solé, L. Ochoa, J.L Campoy, Raúl López, Cristina Carmona

Location: Paratge de Tudela-Culip, Cap de Creus, Catalunya

Client: Ministerio de Medio Ambiente, Departament De Medi Ambient De Catalunya, Parc Natural De Cap De Creus, Gestora de Runes De La Construcció SA

Urbanization and restoring: Control & Demeter + Massachs Slu + Jardinería Sant Narcís

Construction: TRAGSA

Budget: US$ 14 / m2

Built surface: 900.000 m2

Project year: 2005-2008

Construction year: 2009-2010

Photographs: Martí Franch, Pau Ardèvol, Esteve Bosch


MUSQUERA, Sílvia. «Club Mediterraneé: intervenció en el paisatge del Cap de Creus als anys ’60». Annals de l’Institut d’estudis empordanesos, vol 32 (2004): 313-342. [ Links ]


Martí Franch Bachelor in Landscape Architecture, University of Greenwich; Engineer in Horticulture and Gardening, ETSAB, Barcelona. Since 2001 he is professor of projects in the Master’s Degree in Landscape at the ETSAB. Has been a visiting professor at ENSPV Versailles, RMIT Melbourne, Academie van Bouwkunst of Amsterdam LUH, Hannover and Suds Lund. Since 2008 is a member of Paisea magazine’s advisory board and since 2011 member of the Board of Directors of the School of Versailles. EMF projects has been recognized with the Rosa Barba award at the 7th European Landscape Biennial at Barcelona, the American Society of Landscape Architects asla Honor Award and the recent Landezine International Landscape Award LILA prize, among others.

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