“Usually we consider landscapes as “natural” when there’s been no human intervention, and “modified” when people have left their trace. This simplification would make us rule out the Valencian territory, since it’s made, in most of its extension, by adapted, built, modified and used landscapes. Probably one of the best meeting points between both concepts, apparently contradictory (natural versus human, wild versus built) are those landscapes of stone that spread through the whole Valencian Community."
And thus within this context we find the town of Ares - an altar atop La Mola which forms part of this exceptional landscape. The form of the town depends heavily on the interface between the character of the limestone landscape and the occupation of the hills over the past 1000 years.
The limestone strata and its weathering over time has resulted in an extraordinary figure of parallel lines within this steep landscape, which in turn has left us with a series of horizontal platforms. These platforms have informed the occupation of La Mola itself, where the first castle wall was laid down to mark the extent of the town. However, like much of the town, this wall has been built and re-built over time such that it still exists in spirit even though very little of the original fabric of geometry remains.
We find it had to distinguish between the terraced landscape and the logic of the town itself. Thus, the town can be understood as both “complete” and always “in construction”. All we do know is that a radicalisation of the town and its structure would destroy the slow accretive process which has unfolded over XXX years. When we understand this - that the town is neither complete nor requiring radical adjustment - we can look again to the limestone platforms and consider how we might add new elements without disrupting this pattern.
Our proposal then, is a series of PROSTHETICS added to the existing structure of the town. These small elements do not provide complete answers but rather cause us to ask new questions about the form of the city and how it might evolve in future. Each of these prosthetics addresses a particular situation – where connection is required between paths, or street furniture, lighting and landscaping might improve a space in the town. These prosthetics do not resist the layered structure upon which the town is based but simply attempt to make connections between the layers where the most critical moments of repair or connection are needed. They will be contemporary in nature and made from innovative ceramic techniques. These ceramic objects capture the material of the region while impressing with their quality finish at the points of human contact.
Our proposal is therefore not definitive, but rather a suggestions of where prostheses might be needed. Further discussion might result in a new set which have a particular prioritisation. Similarly, each prosthetic can exist as a discrete project which can be built as funds become available. Their separate nature is such that the town will always be “complete”.