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  4. Spain
  6. 2010
  7. The Truffle / Ensamble Estudio

The Truffle / Ensamble Estudio

  • 01:00 - 26 April, 2010
The Truffle / Ensamble Estudio
The Truffle / Ensamble Estudio, © Roland Halbe
© Roland Halbe

© Roland Halbe © Ensamble Estudio © Ensamble Estudio © Ensamble Estudio +42

  • Location

    Costa da Morte, Spain
  • Architects

    Ensamble Estudio / Antón García-Abril
  • Collaborator

    Ricardo Sanz
  • Quantity Surveyor

    Javier Cuesta
  • Collaborator Companies

    Tongadas & Zuncho Dolorido, SL. / Galicorte / Macías Derribos / Suministros Zurich / Ganadería Paulina
  • Area

    25.0 sqm
  • Project Year

  • Photographs

From the architect. The Truffle is a piece of nature built with earth, full of air. A space within a stone that sits on the ground and blends with the territory. It camouflages, by emulating the processes of mineral formation in its structure, and integrates with the natural environment, complying with its laws.

© Ensamble Estudio
© Ensamble Estudio

We made a hole in the ground, piling up on its perimeter the topsoil removed, and we obtained a retaining dike without mechanical consistency. Then, we materialized the air building a volume with hay bales and flooded the space between the earth and the built air to solidify it. The poured mass concrete wrapped the air and protected itself with the ground. Time passed and we removed the earth discovering an amorphous mass.

© Ensamble Estudio
© Ensamble Estudio

The earth and the concrete exchanged their properties. The land provided the concrete with its texture and color, its form and its essence, and concrete gave the earth its strength and internal structure. But what we had created was not yet architecture, we had fabricated a stone.

© Ensamble Estudio
© Ensamble Estudio

We made a few cuts using quarry machinery to explore its core and discovered its mass inside built with hay, now compressed by the hydrostatic pressure exerted by concrete on the flimsy vegetable structure. To empty the interior, the calf Paulina arrived, and enjoyed the 50m3 of the nicest food, from which she nourished for a year until she left her habitat, already as an adult and weighing 300 kilos. She had eaten the interior volume, and space appeared for the first time, restoring the architectural condition of the truffle after having been a shelter for the animal and the vegetable mass for a long time.

© Roland Halbe
© Roland Halbe

The architecture surprised us. Its ambiguity between the natural and the built, the complex materiality that the same constructive element, the mass unreinforced concrete, could provide the small architectural space, at different scales. From the amorphous texture of its exterior, to the violent incision of a cut that reveals its architectural vocation, leading to the fluid expression of the interior solidification of concrete. This dense materiality, which gives the vertical walls a rusticated scale, comes from the size of the bales, and contrasts with the continuous liquidity of the ceiling that evokes the sea, petrified in the lintel of the spatial frame that looks sublimely to the Atlantic Ocean, highlighting the horizon as the only tense line within the interior space.

© Ensamble Estudio
© Ensamble Estudio

To provide the space with all the comfort and the living conditions needed in architecture, we took the "Cabanon" of Le Corbusier as motif, recreating its program and dimensions. It is the "Cabanon of Beton" the reference that makes the truffle an enjoyable living space in nature, that has inspired and subdued us. And the lesson we learn is the uncertainty that led us in the desire to build with our own hands, a piece of nature, a contemplative space, a little poem.

© Ensamble Estudio
© Ensamble Estudio
Location to be used only as a reference. It could indicate city/country but not exact address. Cite: "The Truffle / Ensamble Estudio" 26 Apr 2010. ArchDaily. Accessed . <>
Read comments


HUO · March 03, 2015

so interesting。。。the cows completed it。

nigel fitton · November 09, 2012

I love this project and have done for a long while
this is so much about not building,whilst being anti building.
sounds a paradox but again.

Tom Offringa · July 01, 2012

This is awesome. Putting down haybales, pour the structure with concrete, let cows eat the hay: Awesome house complete.

BARBAnegra · April 26, 2012

Photoset: The Truffle / Ensamble Studio House.

Wilfredo Méndez · March 20, 2012

The Truffle #House: A piece of #nature

Ossi Honkanen · February 01, 2012

It&#39s called The Truffle and it is a very beautiful piece of natural architecture indeed. I&#39d live here.

Designers at Large · December 23, 2011

This intrigues me... The Truffle / Ensamble Estudio | ArchDaily via @archdaily

Rafael Cubillo Bravo · November 13, 2011

YETA / Lab Zero Vs. The Truffle / Ensamble Estudio #MaderaVsHormigon

raju noor · October 14, 2011

The Truffle / Ensamble Estudio | ArchDaily via @archdaily

elblogdeapa · September 22, 2011

El proceso constructivo · September 22, 2011

buscapro RT @a4arquitectos: El proceso constructivo a4arquitectos: El proceso constructivo...

acuatro arquitectos · September 22, 2011

El proceso constructivo

nonsapiens · June 25, 2011

Cave home built by pouring concrete over stacked hay bales, cutting an opening and letting a cow in to eat the hay. |

Siobhan Toohill · June 11, 2011

Kooky cabin "The Truffle" made with hay bales, concrete and a hungry calf called Paulina. True dat.

Will E Simpson · June 09, 2011

The Truffle / Ensamble Estudio | ArchDaily via @archdaily

Arquitectura · June 08, 2011

RT @CPILINARES De donde salio esa idea? The Truffle / Ensamble Estudio | ArchDaily vía @arch...

J. I. LINARES CPI · June 08, 2011

De donde salio esa idea? The Truffle / Ensamble Estudio | ArchDaily vía @archdaily
#arquitectura #diseño #cratividad

R. Douglass Rice · April 27, 2011

The Truffle / Ensamble Estudio | ArchDaily via @archdaily

xiner · February 25, 2011

The Truffle / Ensamble Estudio | ArchDaily via @archdaily

Spacer Nix · February 24, 2011

Neat project. Fortunately the pictures were more enjoyable than the narrative. I do hope the writer was employing irony. If not, yikes.

??????? · November 06, 2010
Ivan Pashov · August 06, 2010

The Truffle / Ensamble Estudio | ArchDaily

binyoun · August 05, 2010

The Truffle / Ensamble Estudio | ArchDaily 06~10??? ?? ??? ?? ????(?!) ????.. ????..?? ????? ?? ??!! ??

Polina · July 29, 2010

I've browsed and browsed on archdaily and never really looked into this project due to its' unappealing first picture, but than... I have to admit this is history in the making. Exceptional concept and execution. We just have to watch and learn from such projects. Truly impressive!

archit student · May 25, 2010

what about services and maintenance?

gravityjungle · May 04, 2010

Love this free spirited space sculpturing project. The result, a true personal shelter is touching.

windzerg · May 04, 2010

Awesome work! I like what the inside looks. Really a poetry.

linas · May 04, 2010

That is incredible, it's unbelievable! Guys, you are so far ahead (with your thinking) and you are so free! Good luck to all of you - keep going!

Jaeseok · May 03, 2010

very interesting!!

Jaeseok · May 03, 2010

wow! amazing! I want to learn.

ik · May 03, 2010


Francisco · April 30, 2010

Extraordinary critique to the Retardquitecture -i.e. new zaha hadid buildings- where still using the same building methods and all their output is product design that looks amazing in the renders but the reality is: POCHE

The community of Architecture is doing well recognizing Antón´s work. No doubt this Spanish young Architect will find his spot in the international discourse.

Bravo maestro!

m. · April 29, 2010

This is really SOMETHING.
You can search for arguments against but you can't doubt this amazing way of thinking about architecture.

Ariel · April 28, 2010

Innovation, but its still not cheap, there's a lot of money that the threw away, in concrete. and cutting it to

biboarchitect · April 28, 2010


nick · April 28, 2010

Absolute heroes!

that's what she · April 28, 2010

excuse me...please learn!...we need more ideas and techniques like these. love it!

Nicholas Patten · April 28, 2010

I&#39d Live Here: The Truffle.

pathos · April 28, 2010

This is not a new technique. Arcosanti employed similar techniques to build their domes: This is an interesting project however and in my opinion they achieved their stated goal which was to build a little poem with their own hands.

sergio · April 27, 2010

Me parece genial. Gracias Antón por este soplo de aire fresco.

up_today_arch · April 27, 2010

A lot, a lot, a lot of strange peoples in the world... But... it pushes the progress and gives us a lot of new ideas... It is terrific example of new ways of architecture...

robert · April 27, 2010

love the idea and the interior space but IMO they should have let this structure covered with earth and grass with space only for acces and window.

sam · April 27, 2010

Fun and poetic. Though the sheer tonnage of concrete per m2 of floor space seems awfully wasteful given its high embodied energy. It's really neat, I just wish it could have been done in a slightly more responsible way...

GBA · April 27, 2010

how does it work structurally once the support (hay) is gone?
Is there any steel in it?

Javier · April 28, 2010 01:35 AM

It doesn´t need almost any steel because with this little span, and such a thick roof, the concrete can work as if it was a dome, the loads following an arch-shape path to the walls, so almost everything is sxial forces and shear, no bending, so not steel needed.

shetu · April 27, 2010

the most striking point about this project is its construction technique, no doubt. specially feeding up a calf the whole interior volume for over a year is quite innovative. my question is why did you depend upon a calf to do that for a long span of time. Its not like that you gave the animal total freedom of creating the shape of the void inside. you already know how the shape is going to be at the end. then why did you depend on her only to remove the hays whereas you used bulldozer, concrete mixer in the same project?

fakecalf · April 27, 2010 06:20 PM

In order for that statement to be true then they used two different calves for the photo shoot - in one year the animal would have been much much bigger. obviously a fake

bella · April 27, 2010

i love it, really an awesome piece

David Basulto · April 27, 2010

Once again Anton bring us innovation in building techniques.

Please, check other works by his firm here:

Jeff · April 27, 2010

Earthworm Jim, Excellent!
from Chihuahua. Mx.

gus bianchi · April 27, 2010

este experimento hace avanzar a la arquitectura. muy intersante el concepto y su aplicación.

RODRIGO · April 27, 2010

Earthworm Jim, Excellent!
from Chihuahua. Mx.

josep · April 27, 2010

beautiful and poetic! what a way to end my night! Wonderful!

E · April 27, 2010

funny and great building!

PatrickLBC · April 27, 2010


rodolfo · April 27, 2010


james · April 27, 2010

what a wonderflul little idea.
i esspecially love that they had a calf eat the interior volume over a 1 year period.

lisa · April 27, 2010


doug · April 29, 2010 01:18 AM


joey · April 27, 2010

Casa da Música, but way better.

jerry · April 27, 2010

PROJECT OF THE YEAR!!!!! this is really something great. the allowance of the unknown is refreshing to see embraced instead of feared. really truly this is something to be proud of.

???? · April 27, 2010

?? ??????????!???? ????????!???????????? ???????????...

lolcake · April 27, 2010

they spent five years to build a concrete room with textures of cow food. this is something new in nature.

Benjamin · April 27, 2010

Something different.. nice result!

archdaily · April 26, 2010

what an incredible amount of free time

Javier · April 28, 2010 01:31 AM

Its really innovative... a first try, but I can imagine plenty of applications fot cheap housing...

kevin · April 27, 2010 09:50 PM



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© Roland Halbe

松露小屋 / Ensamble Estudio