Island, desert, mountain: architecture degree zero

The fascination awoken by far-off places, on the limits of human existence, places where it may be better to pass through than to stay, or where remaining always involves a vague sense of threat (a condition, since Romanticism, that underlies the aesthetic experience).

The island as a closed, finite place, with endemism as a possibility. The island as the place of the omnipresent horizontal limit.

The desert, conversely, has no limits: indefinite and infinite. It can only be inhabited through movement; nomadism is a necessary condition of survival.

The mountain as experience of the vertical limit; as an attempt to fly, the Icarus syndrome with its possible ending.

In these cases, the refuge finds its primal expression.

Architecture – that prosthesis sometimes necessary for survival – is presented in its initial condition. As degree zero.

Josep Lluís Mateo