Ocaña de España / Manuel Ocaña

© Miguel de Guzmán
© Miguel de Guzmán

Architects: Manuel Ocaña & Luis Morales
Location: Carretera de Yepes, Ocaña, Toledo,
Collaborators: Roberto González García, Lucía Martínez, Javier Aguirre, Pilar Pérez Flores
Client: BIUR S.L. Carlos Martí
Contractor: BIUR S.L.
Project Area: 4.145 sqm
Budget: 3,300,000€
Project year: 2006-2007
Construction year: 2007-2009
Photographs: Miguel  de Guzman &

© Miguel de Guzmán © Miguel de Guzmán © Miguel de Guzmán © Miguel de Guzmán

Hipo-Critical Oath©

1. In architecture, public opinion is not a proposal. It is an order.

The architect is a medium of the status quo ideology. Must not take own decisions. Must show the human will through a condensation of opinions.

The waste of professional energy while trying to manipulate the public opinion is always illegitimate an unsustainable.

2. Architecture represents what society presents.

Representation through a validated repertory is the main professional attribution. Architectural validated repertory has a rule-based character.

3. Architectural language is a social prerogative.

The definitive image of the buildings is property of a final consumer allergic to astonishment. The language must be extracted from the architectural thinking in order to give it as a tribute to the correspondent community.

4. Architecture is importation from the collective thinking. Talking about exportation is arrogance.

Truth culture comes from the common people. Shared virtues, as essential goodness or educative values, must be imported into architecture. Trying to export own thinking to society is intelligence ostentation, as vulgar as flaunting wealth.

5. Statistics is not data. It is law.

Imagination or reason is not governing, opinion rolls are. Interpretation of the statistic is an end itself, not only a tool, because its conclusions are always a safe value. There are no risks taken in architecture.

6. Bureaucracy is not an obstacle. It is an allied.

In order to help the citizen, Government can demand from the architect a lot of time, thinking, money, effort and obedience. Architect’s skills must be commercial and bureaucratic. Quality can not be a goal because we are protected under Technical Codes and the new unproductive intermediaries. Those new agents allow the homogenization of the results to defend the communal wellness.

7. Communal opinion is more valuable than the architect’s judgment.

Opinion must be loved and judgments must be rejected. Nor the thousands of architects that build millions of squared metres, nor the millions of buyers that pay hundreds of thousands Euros for them, can be wrong.

© Miguel de Guzmán
© Miguel de Guzmán


Or when public opinion is an order.

This collective housing project tries to be a tribute to the inner wishes of the current Spanish society. The project is an ultra-realistic performance about the real state market, in the shape of a 53 dwellings building developed in ground floor + 3 heights.

We succumbed to the unquestionable wishes of a creative private promoter. He wanted a building that looked like from Cuenca from the outside but very modern in the inside. We proposed to build it as a replica of the hunging houses. The two first floors would be rock (constructed with the same techniques used in the theme parks Port Aventura and Terra Mítica), while the two last ones would be costumbrist houses laid on it, finished with a roof made of a canvas with a serigraphy of Arab tiles.

© Miguel de Guzmán
© Miguel de Guzmán

The first architectural decision appears with the configuration of the building as a 2+2 instead of a ground floor +3. Two orders, of two floors each, piled in horizontal. Five extent irregular shaped volumes lay on the inferior basement. All the houses are different one from each other.

plan 02
plan 02

Butt the main architectural decision is about the common spaces of circulation. Those generous spaces are solved around wide open patios, with crooked and secret flowings. In the upper lever the extent configuration of the five volumes allow, besides of interesting micro-spaces for community use, spaces with diagonal and surprise views.

© Miguel de Guzmán
© Miguel de Guzmán
© Miguel de Guzmán
© Miguel de Guzmán

On the other hand, the final image of this architecture, (that can be related to the oceans of fake, Hello Kitty´s fossil or a pre-Columbine Mickey Mouse could be references) has the suspicious aim of understanding public opinion as an order, not as a proposal. The result is a language based on clichés, on the most popular topics that appear in the touristic postcards; images and representations that most of Spanish people understand as a paradigm of wellness and happiness.

Cite: "Ocaña de España / Manuel Ocaña" 07 Oct 2009. ArchDaily. Accessed 30 May 2015. <http://www.archdaily.com/?p=37098>
  • etty

    how annoying is that lady posing in all those picts.

    • james

      i like her.

      she’s pretty

    • jiri

      I like especially the bikini pics.

  • comitant

    She is exactly what more architectural photography needs!

    Theme park resort looks aside, the complex has a good human scale and looks highly livable.

  • mart

    what do you call those window coverings this project uses? the ones where the slats are horizontal and expand as you pull them up and then finally lift after they’ve fully expanded… when i was a kid in germany i think we called them rolladen or some such thing. i’d like to see investigate the option available now that i can. thanks.

    i like this project btw…

    • sfb

      hey, mart. yes, you call it Rolladen. i don’t like the shutters. their material doesn’t fit to the apperance of the rocks. btw, the rocks look like plastic…i guess i would feel like in disneyland if the young (and cute) lady wouldn’t pose in these pics.

  • Gorgos

    Im not sure I get this proposal….

    I just dont agree with the line `The waste of professional energy while trying to manipulate the public opinion is always illegitimate an unsustainable.`

    Im well aware there´s an abundance of people out there that prefer `kitsch` over well considered `art`. We as architects are professionals though and its our job to execute well considered design decisions which we have come to understand as the best solution after years of academic research and practical experience.

    I understand this “Hippo-critical oath” is intended to invoke a discussion, but its content is rather arrogant. I take my job seriously and I believe I have a vision which I want to promote. At least now I know its all in vain…

    • http://ramoscastellano.com Moreno

      In Germany most of the people voted for Hitler, but I think that was not a good idea. Maybe common sense can create very bad stuff. If you follow the market you’re not an architect you are a seller. Like architects our job is to give more than people could have making themself their own houses.

      You can make happy people making good architecture not just following mass ideas.


      • http://leverandpulley.carbonmade.com helen

        cos bringing up hitler in every conversation is totally effective and makes one sound like he has a strong point.. man..

  • AndrewK

    Seriously? Architecture as status quo? I totally disagree with this value system. First of all to assume there is a “status quo” ignores the vast complexities of society itself. Exalting in a a societal/architectural gestalt is itself is a close-minded and arrogant view itself. We should celebrate variation and difference rather than advocate for homogeneity.

    And it looks like a theme park.

  • stella

    the so called “hipo-critical” oath seems like it was written to incite a discussion or a rather heated argument instead of announcing a manifesto or something like it.

    and i think the lady is annoying too. so random.

  • etty

    Having people posing in pictures doing something funny or interesting or nothing in particular is great, this is just cheesy though.

  • Ill

    I believe Yung Ho Chang would enjoy these images.Architecture is not the focal point. Just like real life. Hehe.

  • st barth

    I love the use of the model…especially the lead photo of her jumping into the pool in a dress. it vaguely reminds me of the logo used by dutch architects, mecanoo, of a diver in mid-leap. what a pleasant surprise for an arch photo!

  • alex

    having a model for scale: good idea. Having that model be some hot chick prancing around in a loud dress and/or bikini: a completely irrelevant and simple-minded idea.

  • alejandro

    Architecture and metaphor
    Although I agree it has a cheesy theme park degree to it (in my opinion it lacks abstraction), I find it really livable, besides the model is so beautiful ( I find the mixture of the cold northern blonde dressed in southern Spanish clothes delicious).
    I find this project strong in Spanish metaphors, as architects we shouldn’t forget metaphors, development of abstract esthetic synthesis is not the whole picture. Or the only path.
    Cheers, very good project!

  • daily spread

    i thought the project is about the girl, not about the huts around…

  • josep

    the minute someone have to justify their work with some bs text you know it can not be any good, there is not need for this and to imitate the stone with paint is just way too post modern
    you could only imagine seen this in America but I guess it took 30 something years for Spain to become another Post Modern Horror

  • KJS

    So public opinion in Toledo is that two stories of fake, theme-parky rock looks good? That’s a shame.

  • v ski

    I suppose the broad in the bikini is a way of distracting the reader from potential criticism of the architectural style.

  • daniel daiber

    It’s nice to see such a humble and unselfish kind of architecture.

    They talk about being the medium to the society, and not try to impose ones thinking into the whole society. Thats just the contrary to most of the architects in the last century have thought.

    Once and for all someone is forgeting their egos for a little bit, and try to make people happy with their dwellings.

    that was funny! –>”(that can be related to the oceans of fake, Hello Kitty´s fossil or a pre-Columbine Mickey Mouse could be references)”

  • http://banner.sunflowerdesigns.hu/ Andrew Geber

    not average
    and thats good

  • cad

    Where are the guy with the speedo?

  • From Spain

    I understand the hipo-critical oath, the presence of the model with typical spanish clothes, and the project itself, as a quite accurate sarcastic performance about the situation of architects in Spain nowadays. What is said an built is what most of the spanish society would love every architect to think and do. It’s that sad.

  • Patrick

    Holy smokes, Ayn Rand would have a fit. :-)

  • as

    Hey whats the girls name!!!??? hmm too bad we didn’t get any shower picS! haha!
    There is a disco in Cancun called Daddy O, one in Tijuana called Baby Rock and one in Acapulco Daddy O… the bottom of this project is exactly like them… the top is just a copy of vernacular architecture… this could work if they didn’t take themselves so seriously with the manifesto…
    it brings comedy and a break from “serious” architecture…
    i still think it lacks depth though…

  • mike

    does SHE come with the condo. . . yuk yuk

  • silicon m

    The Architecture looks great in this context.
    The girls are fantastic.
    Not interested in the Marxist philosophy though?

  • http://www.fotolog.com/andrehmoraes André Moraes

    don’t know if it is funny enought.. but i must say.. kinda different and lievable, a very cozy project… whe you see at first sight.. “wow! lots of rock an all.. how do they do something like that? who can do something like that nowadays!?” but then you see the detail sections.. =//

    but still a nice example of a lievable project!

  • ek

    so much opportunity for creative joinery clearly looked over

  • http://cargocollective.com/scottlowe Scott

    Over-rationalization of a rather banal project.

  • claudem

    where is fred flintstone? or barney?

  • http://www.flickr.com/photos/dariusz69 Dariusz

    Interesting, but quite strange to have boulders as the ground floor. The model would have worked in 3 or 4 images, but not in MOST of them! I don’t love this project, but it’s a start.. I think architects should begin to manipulate the public opinion.. Take N.America (Canada and USA). It seems that most of the general public hasn’t seen or been in an “architect” or “designer” created place/space. Do we want developer-based “desgin” to be the norm, or do we push for something different, better, new.??

  • blackstone

    A nice change of pace for ArchDaily… yes, the design and the photographs go too far (i.e. ‘cheezy’) but still it’s a pretty likeable project in many respects. The streetscape view is a damning indictment of the incredibly impoverished reductivism of the project across the street. It’s good to be reminded that minimalism and abstraction isn’t the only answer.