Architects: Rodrigo Cáceres Céspedes
Location: Pencahue, Maule Region, Chile
Project Area: 30 sqm
Project Year: 2013
Photographs: Patricia Albornoz Avendaño, Rodrigo Cáceres Céspedes
Advisor Teacher: Mauricio Ramírez Molina
Structure: Prof. Patricio Lara Ditzel, Ingeniero Civil, Prof. Raúl Alcaíno Fuenzalida, Ingeniero Civil.
Technical Inspection: Prof. Cristian Palma Valladares
Surveyor: Rafael Gutierrez Bustos, Ingeniero en Construcción
Construction: Jaime Bustos,Paulo Moya,Rafael Gutierrez, Carlos Kubat,Orlando Cáceres,Rodrigo Cáceres.
Budget: 5.179.522 Chilean Pesos
From the architect. A bike-touring shelter-camp in the area.
“It is the eagerness to do sports in the area, in this case mountainbiking, which has inspired to create a movable construction that can open up cross-country cycling either for recreational, training, racing or touring purposes. The construction is a prototype of a shelter for cyclists, adapted to a specific territory: Chile’s Central Valley.
Based on a belief which can only be confirmed with time, the construction has also allowed to create a new activity that we have named ‘Endless Cycling’ (Ciclismo sin Fin). This is partly because Chile does not only want to become a powerful nation in the mining and agricultural industry, and because it also wants to build and project an attractive image, and, therefore, become a powerful, touristic center. In order to reach this goal, innovations that suggest new ways of enjoying and working the land economically need to be made; and, by doing so, a high value would be given to the environment. For this reason, and since ‘Eden’s blissful copy’ (‘la copia feliz del Eden’) was given to us – and it is available—it is safe to say that we need to play our cards right. Do we really want to lose this match?
The project is a personal commitment, and the undergraduate final project in the Talca School of Architecture, which includes extracurricular activities, a territory, a movable construction, and a service (or experience), which has emerged from an opportunity to develop a professional career in the diffuse boundary existing in the tourism industry and sports.
Here lies the fusion that allows to build the experience: take a group of cyclists and their ability to move uninterruptedly without the need to come back to the starting point on the same day; add such a diverse and vast expanse of land which could give the cyclists the opportunity to observe the different landscapes on the same or more days; consider a device (the construction) that serves not only as the starting point and finish line, but also as place to recover and meet the other cyclists; and, merge this with simple but effective logistics that will make the cyclists and their friends come back every Fall, Spring and Summer in order to explore the area while doing sports at the same time. Thus, this experience gets different perspectives: the competitor, for whom the land turns into a complex racing circuit and which landscapes can be beheld from behind the handlebar; and, the tourist, who hankers after exploration of land, sun, wind, and landscapes from an unknown perspective and speed.
The first approach is to mark the area for two main reasons: 1) show the trails to the cyclists and tourists, and 2) show that this alternative sport is showing that people are starting to choose new ways of enjoying Eden’s blissful copy.
The second decision has to do with the long distances that cyclists ride, and which makes it necessary to come up with something that can soften the effort of having ridden such long distances by the end of the day. This will allow the people to recover properly and be ready to face another challenge. This is how all the minimum functionalities that allow the cyclists to recover and shelter from weather conditions should be added.
Approach number 3 has to do with mobility. The device has to be much more comfortable than a tent, but, at the same time it needs to be easy to set up and dismantle by a small group of people, which under no circumstances will involve the cyclists since their sole role is to pedal and enjoy the valley.
The next approach revolves about maximizing the fact of being surrounded by nature. On the one hand, the routes on which this prototype is to be taken need to be different; the device must not be taken through the same route twice in one expedition, and during the next stop, the prototype has to adopt several roles, such as a viewpoint, supply stop, or for relaxation that can give the cyclists the opportunity to enjoy the landscapes and provide them with a place where they can wallow in the whole experience. In this way the final goal, which is to take the cyclist to a place other than the restricted scenarios like cycle tracks or velodromes, is achieved.
Approach number five –the last one— is related to the creation of a new system. Many prototypes can help to create the necessary features for a design that will allow a multiple number of cyclists to go all over the area in use in just one go, which maximizes its presence as an important event and activity in the area.
The shape can be explained as a parallelepiped deformed progressively through various stages. The purpose of the groove in the base and the incorporation of cloth panels is to show the functions available and to delimit the access to the device. Besides, it shows where the bicycles are stored and takes the cyclists to a large area that serves as a supply spot and viewpoint. The double-layer does not only have climatic purposes, but it also want to give a sense of a solid structure from the opaque fabric and the vanishing effect obtained by the translucence of the outer light and landscape that make their way through the micro-punctured cloth.
A combination of steel parts and aluminum for the structure makes the setting-up of the system much easier, and it provides the necessary structural resistance needed for use; and, it gives the fabric the necessary strength against strong winds.
In the process of designing the biggest sides of the structure, these were made smaller. The decision aims at obtaining better-defined vertexes and layers of cloth, all this resulting in the final look of the outside of the structure. Two adjustable sliding legs have been made part of the structure. Because of their characteristics, the legs make the set-up possible on almost any terrain, especially on even or steep ones. This clearly broadens the places in which to set up supply spots and allows a wider alternative for viewpoints as well.
A small table, a handrail, a bicycle hanger, wheeled wooden containers to keep sleeping bags, and vertically set strips make the interior ideal for sleep, rest, dinner or breakfast, and spending some time the end of the day with the other cyclists.
A power generator that works by pedaling friction has been also added, and which, when connected to an alternator and a battery, sends energy to a set of LEDs. Water is stored in a tank and is taken to the dispensers using gravity. A solar, 18-lt shower will provide the needed amount for a hot-water bath, place which is part of the structure itself. Sullage and waste will go into different tanks so they are placed in the right locations.
In addition, sustainability will also be part of the logistics which is supported by other collaborators. Contacting those enabled, or willing, to take part in rural tourism will decrease the different transports in use; time for food preparation, water, and other elements that are needed for the experience. At the same time, it will generate an extra income, resulting in a business network for all the members.
Text by: Rodrigo Cáceres and Mauricio Ramírez Molina