Canoes Landscape / Julio Barreno

© Jesús Granada

Architect: Julio Barreno
Location: Cadiz,
Technical Architect: Rocío Román Aguillar
Project Area: 200 sqm
Project Year: 2009
Photographs: Jesús Granada

Zahara de la sierra is a small village in the south of Spain. It is situated on the top of a hill as a dense liquid falling down along the slope. At the bottom, there is a reservoir constructed with a dam.

The town council plans construct a recreation area in the lower site of the hill which is next to the water reservoir.

situation plan

As we can see, the landscape in this area is formed by small white pieces of housing derived from the small size of the plots and the properties in this area define the green and white pixels of an aerial view of this landscape.

© Jesús Granada

This building for storing canoes is built as another white point in the landscape.

Three lines decide the exact situation in the site:

The narrow road going from the secondary one to the water level, the electrical aerial line (electrical installation) crossing above the site and the water level of a sudden increase (when it rains a lot, the rivers can grow up quickly and when this rain arrives into the reservoir, it can create waves making the water level grow up to this maximum level of the water).

context floor plan

These conditions along with others like the bad soil for foundations decide what the building becomes.

With these conditions it was difficult to design something based on a perpendicular geometry, a regular volume. So, it started to deform, it became a deformed geometry volume, that sums up the answers to the conditions that the site imposed.

© Jesús Granada

On the other hand, the building is a BY-PASS connecting the parking site, at the beginning of the secondary road, with the jetty, on the water level, the proposal designs a path between these two points; people get in through a pedestrian access with their everyday clothes, and go out through the other extreme exit with the canoe and sports clothes on their way to the water in the reservoir. In this sense, the building becomes an INTERCHANGER, as a stop, a halt in the path.

For the construction of this element we used the current materials of this area; the white colour as the main ingredient and inclined black tiled roof with some white disseminated skylights. These characteristics give the building a certain landscape character. It could be called a BUILDING-LANDSCAPE, a CANOES´S LANDSCAPE.

© Jesús Granada

In this way the building emerges as another white element in the traditional landscape in this region.

We developed the program with only one floor; the main one is a big space for storing the canoes, and another server spaces concentrated in a small red piece including showers, toilets and changing rooms.

Cite: "Canoes Landscape / Julio Barreno" 27 Jan 2010. ArchDaily. Accessed 23 May 2015. <>
  • Michael

    What a wonderful little building.
    The architect has achieved a lot with what looks like a pretty small budget. The construction is direct and the materials are basic, but the design is thoughtful and well-sited.
    I think it’s a gem. Nice work!

  • Michael

    Forgot to say; Great photos too.
    They really capture the way the building ‘fits’ the context.

    Fantastic. Did I say fantastic?!

  • DESIGN*aRt::archive

    architecture: Canoes Landscape in Cadiz, Spain / Julio Barreno (23pics) (archdaily)

  • mima

    Simplicity scores again! Very nice!
    And the photographer did a very good job,too!
    Keep it up, my friends. :–)

  • M.Leung

    Great building!
    A very modest yet unique building.

  • Pingback: **KIWILICIOUS**:

  • marianne amodio

    i would live in this canoe "shed", wouldnt you?

  • Home Decor News

    Canoes Landscape / Julio Barreno

  • Konstantinos Tolias

    Nice approach, minimalism just serves the needs.