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Architecture Workshops


Typological On-site Investigations

A Casa Grande da Mariña


05.07 - 06.08.2023  Xuances, Lugar Fontao, A Mariña



in the care of

Luis Feduchi

Maximilian Gallo

Oscar Garcia Perez



A series of three workshops that explore the future of the built rural heritage of the Costa da Mariña Occidental (Western Mariña Coast) in Galicia through the investigation of one of its predominant housing typologies: the 19th century Casa Grande (farmhouse)


Each workshop is carried out following a similar day-to-day program (see timeline) but focuses on one of the main constructive elements of the above-mentioned typology: The Roof, the Frame and the Ground.


The workshops impart practical and theoretical knowledge to deal with historic rural buildings. At the center of the workshops is the examination of the moments when old and new construction materials and techniques meet.



This series of workshops offers a practical experience to investigate both building typologies and traditional construction techniques that still persist in Galicia in-situ.


The objective is to learn to rethink those spaces and vernacular construction methods in order to adapt them to contemporary social- and technological conditions.

Through the investigation of a specific building typology, the Casa Grande da Mariña, the participants will become familiar with the construction methods used in the buildings that make it up, including stone walls, slate-covered roofs, frameworks of wood as well as the union between them.


The workshop aims to train the participants in the main construction phases of the building's recovery, as well as considering what the ideal functions of these vernacular dwellings could be and how to address them.


The research method is based upon the investigation of popular housing typologies in the region. Through different means of measuring, mapping and documenting buildings we will look for commonalities, differences and disparities within their structure as well as their historical and contemporary functions.







In the first part of each workshop, the participants will dissect and catalog both the buildings and their programs, through techniques of measurement, excavation, scratching and drawing.


In the second part of the workshop, the participants will develop and build proposals for a part of the building under study.


The three workshops will focus on the common characteristics that constitute the a Casa Grande da Mariña housing typology and will be structured into three weekly segments that will deal respectively with:


  1. The Roof. Alternatives to the current slate-tiles, their incorporation into the covering finish of adequate insulation materials, as well as methods for creating openings for natural lighting and techniques to harness solar energy.

      2. The Frame of the first floor. Its constructive logic will be studied as well as other crucial aspects for housing such as               thermal and acoustic comfort and the insertion of water and electric installations.


      3. The flooring on the Ground floor. Insulation and waterproofing solutions will be addressed, as well as the                                     incorporation of adequate heating systems.


During the workshop, the participants will learn different sustainable construction techniques, such as the reuse of existing wood and stone structures, the production of pisé, or lime-bound floors.


Local experts and artisans will be invited to share their knowledge. Participants will be able to develop and build 1:1 models of the respective construction details.


In addition, the workshop will explore alternative forms of energy provision, maintenance and distribution. These include solar energy, geothermal probes, heat pumps, and insulation methods.






The workshop will take place in the parish of Xuances, Lugar Fontao 64, Xove, Lugo, from where visits and explorations will take place.


The workshops will be located in a renovated rural house attached to a few buildings which are currently under a research and design phase. The adjoining palleiro or warehouse has been set up as a work area and equipped with the necessary tools.





Accommodation will be at the participant's discretion. However, the organization has planned the reservation of several rooms in Os Faroles, a nearby rural hostel-restaurant.


The prices per week with breakfast and dinner included are 300 euros per person in a double room and 475 euros in a single room.


Other alternatives for accommodation only (meals excluded) in hostels in the area are currently being studied.

To request more details about the stay, please write to:




The Os Faroles hostel is 2.8 kilometers away and bicycle rental has been provided for those who require and request it.





Lunches during workshop hours can be prepared collectively by the participants and the workshop instructors.




To apply for admission, contact and send a brief motivation letter, attaching a cv or portfolio.





450 euros for participation in a workshop ,

includes the reservation of a place in one of the scheduled field trips.


750 euros for two workshops,

includes participation in the field trip scheduled between the two selected workshops


900 euros for the total duration of the three workshops,

includes participation in both trips and courses scheduled in parallel


*accommodation not included, see Accommodation, above



Scholarships and aid for accommodation


A series of scholarships and accommodation grants are currently being processed giving preference to participants who want to enroll for the entire duration of the program (one month) or at least two of the three workshops.


Please sign up for further information by contacting






Day 1 – Introduction

Introduction to typological research methods on the vernacular architecture of Galicia


On the first day of the workshop, the participants will be introduced to the Galician housing typology of the 19th century farmhouse named Casa Grande (farmhouse). This presentation will also include a first approach to the methodologies of typological studies and will act as a basis for the participants' own investigations. The day will conclude with an inspection of the shop facilities, tools, available materials, and living areas.



Day 2 – Excursion

Field visit to some vernacular construction works in the area. Investigations on the built structures and collection of details.


In this day, the participants will investigate the area with various initiatives, documenting and recording different buildings assigned around the work area. Participants will be asked to produce plans, drawings and a minimum of one floor, floor or ceiling detail. In addition, the participant will be able to choose a theme that will serve as an anchor for subsequent processes: light, material, geology, ecology, energy or the site itself. Each participant will be able to choose the means to use in its development.


Together, we will compare and catalog our findings to identify their similarities and differences, reveal commonalities within building structures, learn how they might have been used before, and what spaces served what purposes. This will help us draw conclusions about how to modify them in their function and structure. In short, we will share our findings to identify the typological core, that which cannot be reduced: the type.



Days 3, 4 and 5 – Introduction and Development of the Workshop Themes

Introduction to paving techniques, their materiality and how to deal with what exists.

Introduction to the interior structural system, as well as the different types of circulation elements, waste disposal techniques and water, heat and energy distribution.

Introduction to traditional and contemporary construction in general and carpentry in particular.


Workshop 1 – The Roof

An initial lecture on different types of wooden ceiling construction and the processing of existing elements of the same material commences the study of the roof. Together we will develop models of some segments at a 1:1 scale, focusing on how the building elements meet each other and the insulation and ventilation strategies for different types of roof, for example slate, tile or thatch. We will catalog these techniques by the availability of materials and their connection to local construction methods, listing their thermal and acoustic properties.


Workshop 2 – The Frame

A lecture about local environmental conditions, including the climate and infrastructure in rural areas of Galicia will set the starting point for the investigation of the framing conditions of the building. General information on heating periods, insulation regulations and financing of sustainable energy sources will be provided. A second Lecture on technical and practical aspects of sustainable energy supply and distribution will also take place. We will discover how to use solar or geothermal energy in the service of construction and how heat and air could be properly circulated. Furthermore, the frame as a structural system will be investigated and different materials and joining techniques tested.


Workshop 3 – The Ground

A seminar on different techniques of excavation and construction of floors appropriate to regional circumstances forms the knowledge basis of this workshop. Later, we will visit a local rural house and dig a small part of the soil to understand the properties, textures and layers of the earth. After discussing possible ways to reuse the materials that are contained in the earth (humus, excrement, sand, rocks, clay, silt…) we will begin to write ideas for the construction of a screed. We will build, forming small teams, 1:1 scale models of floor segments. Based on this enquiry, we will discuss and draw conclusions about thermal comfort in relation to the movements of people in indoor spaces.



Day 6 – The Design

A strategy will be designed for the existing structure, based on the typological study and the knowledge acquired in previous days, as well as testing the design or a detail by means of a 1: 1 model.


The day will be dedicated to the assimilation of what was discussed in the workshop in the previous sessions. Participants will have time to sort their knowledge and consider it in the context of their own interests, and will be able to develop strategies for translating existing structures into a new design. Depending on the theme that was raised at the beginning, the designs will focus on spatiality, on the structure or on the division or connection of a singular part of the building, such as the floor, the slab or the ceiling.



Day 7 – Presentation

The drawings, models and thoughts of the participants will be presented, which will be able to generate a common file of the materials produced.


Participants will collect and select what they have produced in photographs, drawings or physical models and present it in front of the group. Together we will discuss the respective results and experiences of the workshop. Bringing together these studies, discussions and materials, a practical guide to retrofitting existing rural structures will be published and shared, to contribute to future knowledge of building practice and architectural design.



Day 8 –Field Trip (optional)


Day 9 – Professional Practice Course (optional) and lecture about the building to visit the next day


Day 10 – Guided tour to the building object of the previous day's lecture

1 Workshop                                                                    2 Workshops                                                             3 Workshops

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