Navarre Traditional Architecture Summer Shool 2017

Escuela de Verano en Navarra sobre Arquitectura Tradicional

The participants of this year’s Summer School, during the second half of July, studied and analysed the traditional construction, architecture and urbanism of the Baztán Valley, collecting data on and drawing by hand the streets, details and buildings of Amaiur and other nearby towns by hand. Several projects, with the consensus of the Amaiur community, were designed during the last days, in addition to proposals made to improve different public spaces. The aim was not only to document, understand and assimilate the relationship between both architecture and urban structure and a landscape and culture, but to emphasize that we can continue to work in this day and age without breaking this link.


This school has been organised by INTBAU and the Rafael Manzano Prize for New Traditional Architecture, thanks to the support of the Richard H. Driehaus Charitable Lead Trust and the collaboration of the Institución Príncipe de Viana of the Government of Navarra, the Universidad de Navarra, the Universidad del País Vasco, the Universidad Alfonso X el Sabio, the Pontifical and Royal University of Santo Tomas (Philippines), the schools of Architecture of the Judson University, the University of Miami and the University of Notre Dame (USA), Escuela Superior Gallaecia (Portugal), the Centro de Investigación de Arquitectura Tradicional (CIAT), the Sociedad Aranzadi, Baztango Udala, Amaiur Herria and the Sociedad Gaztelu Elkartea.

While short-term thinking and misunderstood progression are dilapidating entire regions, the people in the Baztan Valley (one of the Pyrenean valleys of northern Navarre) have been able to preserve an ever more valuable treasure to date: their tradition. The high peaks that guard it give way to green valley meadows furrowed by copious streams of water and are dotted with remarkably well-preserved urban settlements still surrounded by the small orchards that provide for their inhabitants. In these settlements, the green gives way to the intense red color of the local stone with which they have historically constructed their buildings, along with the white lime of the mortars that protect and enhance them.

As in almost any other place looking after its legacy, passing down this landscape to future generations is not a simple task, nor free of challenges and threats. Synthetic substitutes compete to displace not only the products of their fields, but also the hands of their artisans. However, their carpenters, blacksmiths and stone masons continue to confront, with pride and know-how, the avalanche of reinforced concrete and prefabricated products that hangs over the valley. Fortunately, we can continue to count on these teachers to learn from and be taught how to build and live in a rational way.

The bulk of the study was carried out in Amaiur, the town which hosted the group during those two weeks. Articulated around the branch of the Camino de Santiago that crosses it, the urban plot is practically configured in a linear development. Along this axis the richness, diversity and versatility of its architectural tradition, are all samples of solutions from different eras, and its having adapted without ever losing its essence to multiple styles and functions. Therefore, we proceeded to study all the architecture of the urban nucleus, from the detail to its urban structure.

This work was complemented with numerous lectures by various professionals and researchers, who were both local and international, on history, ethnography, the architectural and construction traditions, and various topics related to the preservation of cultural heritage and local identity. In addition, the teachers presented their own work. Although developed in different parts of the world, it shared a common principle which was applicable everywhere: the will to maintain continuity with the local tradition, updating and adapting it to the changing needs of each moment.

Having distributed the work to be carried out in teams, finally the participants elaborated and as a result of the analysis and debates during the preceding days made different proposals for improvements to some of the parts of the localities which had been proposed by the community itself. These spaces were: the church square, which serves as an access point to the town and where there are plans to build an interpretation centre that houses the findings from the archaeological campaigns studying its castle; the north end of the urban nucleus, where the axis of the Camino de Santiago meets with the road that ascends to the castle and where a hermitage stands; the fronton and its surroundings, where the school is also found- all of these forming a nerve centre of local activity; and some empty spaces and unique parts of the urban historical centre.

It was attempted through all of this, to cover the various issues of urban restructuring, the reuse of pre-existing structures, architectural rehabilitation, new construction, accessibility, and integration with the landscape, trying to apply in these different areas the contemporary validity of the lessons contained in the architectural tradition.

Buildings that serve different purposes were proposed. Emphasis was also placed on controlling the dimensions and character of public spaces: the sections of the street, the configuration of the space, the materials that compose it, etc. As to the materialization of the proposed measures and spaces, it was sought not only to continue the architectural legacy of the population, but, growing from it and learning from it, and always trying to enrich it by adapting to the requirements of our time.

This group of participants was made up of people with very different profiles, ages and nationalities: Cecilia Ardanaz Ruiz, Ludmila Castro Fiorito, Lola Weijia Deng, Daniela Elisabeth Deu, Nazar Dmiuterko, Daniel Domenech Muñoz, María Mercedes Escrigas Rodriguez, Michellin Fernandez Querijero, Noelia Goce Vicente, Nuria González Roche, Courtnay Ives, Yuhan Jin, Usue Lacarra Prieto, Junquera Lamas Baquero, Therese Madigan, Johann Alejo Mallonga Abellanosa, Cristina Martín-Consuegra Escuderos, Phoebe Joy Montaña Lim, Alba Ramírez Arteaga, Cristina Sánchez Rodríguez, Jenefy Sarte , Angel Satué Falla, Manuel Homer Trinidad Almelor, Ralph Jason Ureta Fajardo, Carolyne Yeow, Christiaan Zandstra and Sam Xinyuan Zhuang.

The teaching team consisted of: Ruth M. Equipaje and Rino D. Fernández (Pontifical and Royal University of Santo Tomas, Philippines), Leopoldo Gil Cornet (Institución Príncipe de Viana of the Government of Navarra and University of Navarra), Frank Martínez of Miami), Christopher Miller (Judson University), Lucien Steil (University of Notre Dame) and Alejandro García Hermida (Alfonso X El Sabio University), coordinator and organizer of the same with the collaboration of Rebeca Gómez-Gordo Villa. He also counted on the demonstrations and explanations realised by the Master Mason Valeriano Jaurrieta and Carpenter Jokin Irungarai in their respective workshops, and also the participation of the invited speakers: Mónica Alcindor, Juan María Alemán, Cecilia Ardanaz, José Baganha, Rui Florentino, Jaime de Hoz, José María Imizcoz, Pello Iriarte, Gabriel Laborra, Rafael Manzano Martos and Fernando Vela Cossío.


Download here the Navarre Traditional Architecture Summer School 2017 Program

Photos of the Activities

Traditional Architecture of Amaiur

Longitudinal Elevation Amaiur

Sketching and measuring in different towns

Design proposals

Church Square, access to the town

Camino de Santiago and the way to the castle junction

The Frontón