A room with views: The Mazo fortress in Santoña, Spain

Research output: Non-textual formExhibition

Abstract / Description of output

The Mazo fortress is a Napoleonic military building dating from the beginning of the 19th century. It is part of a defensive compound formed by a series of constructions deployed along Mount Buciero –a strategically significant landmark that overlooks both the port town of Santoña and its entrance bay-.
Being one of the key pieces of a sophisticated long-distance military surveillance system, the fortress boasts impressive panoramic views, while simultaneously remaining sheltered from potential enemies approaching Santoña from the Cantabrian Sea. As such, it is remarkable in that it was conceived as an apparatus integrating the functions of vigilance and camouflage.
Our office was in charge of both the restoration and the conversion of the fortress into a Site Museum, which is dedicated to exploring the relationships established between the rich natural landscape of Santoña, its military heritage and its current standing as an unconventional touristic destination.
In tune with this, our intervention constituted an attempt to mobilize these connections within the realm of Architecture. On the one hand, the fortress compound was the subject of a thorough historical study, which determined the built layers to be preserved, restored or discarded. On the other hand, we developed a lightweight, non-invasive textile structure, aimed at constructing an autonomous spatial discourse through its interaction with the existing platform and buildings. Building upon the ideas of vigilance and camouflage, this textile architecture articulates a visual coronation for the fortress complex when seen from the outside. From the inside, it constitutes both a signalling system for directing the circulation of visitors and an optical device for framing significant views towards its surrounding landscape.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 16 Mar 2016
EventMountains and Megastructures - Newcastle University, Newcastle Upon Tyne, United Kingdom
Duration: 16 Mar 201617 Mar 2016


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