Cork shelter rewarded by Guggenheim

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Cork, innovation and Portuguese soul: three factors which served as a base to the Cork Block Shelter project; a project which conquered the world of architecture, the internet and admirers of ecologically friendly works. In an interview to APCOR, David Mares, the author, speaks about how he conceived this idea and the feeling of international recognition.

APCOR – You managed to win the prize of the competition launched by the Guggenheim Museum and which was based on an online vote in innovative architecture projects. How does it feel?
David Mares – Winning this competition, which is in my opinion very important being associated to two internationally known entities, is an honour. I am very proud to receive this award, which comes as a sign of recognition of my work and which is very important for a young architect.


Architect David Mares

Cork Block Shelter


Being a prize attributed by public vote, how do you explain this result of almost 65 thousand votes?
I believe it is not only due to the fact that it is a Portuguese project, made by a Portuguese person, but also to the cork application, which is a material which offers a good thermal and acoustic isolation and is a good impermeable. Adding to these characteristics is the fact that it is ecological and that Portugal is the biggest world exporter of this raw-material.

Can you explain better what this project consists of? How was this idea born?
This project consists of a cork box, which has some dynamics in the façades, meaning that the box can be presented open to the exterior, with a dash that allows enjoying the views; or it can be completely closed, conferring peace and quiet to its occupier. The idea was materialized step by step, the process of projecting is very dynamic, there is never an initial idea that is materialized to its full. The idea is transformed throughout the project.

And why did you name it “Cork Shelter”?
I named it “Cork Block Shelter” to be correct. This was because the fundamental concept of the project is a shelter that is materialized with cork walls that are formed through the assemblage of perpendicular cork blocks.

Is cork a material you consider interesting in terms of architecture?
It is very interesting, seeing that it is a natural material with great technical characteristics and with a pleasant visible texture.Is cork a material you consider interesting in terms of architecture?
It is very interesting, seeing that it is a natural material with great technical characteristics and with a pleasant visible texture.

Do you think about putting this project in practice?
Yes, everything is still very insipid, but there has been some demonstration of interest of putting it into practice.

Do you have in mind other projects involving cork?
Not at the moment.

In your opinion, why do architects, generally, not consider cork as a material to use? Do you think there is a lack of knowledge in terms of cork’s potential?
Yes, perhaps there is lack of knowledge of the material.

Shelter received 65 thousand votes

“CBS – Cork Block Shelter” is the name of the shelter built in cork by the architect David Mares, which won a competition launched by the Guggenheim Museum, in New York. This modern and contemporary art museum launched an international challenge called “Shelter Competition”, inviting competitors to send a 3D project of a shelter according to the rules of the competition – to conceive a dwelling space for one human being, draw it up on GoogleSketchUp (specific design program) and place it anywhere on Earth through GoogleEarth. Following the ideas of Frank Lloyd Wright – the architect who conceived Guggenheim – the project should be, also, in harmony with its surrounding environment.
The “Cork Block Shelter” was built entirely out of cork and placed in Vale dos Barris, Setúbal – region where the cork oak forest can also be found. The young architect’s project was, firstly, selected out of 600 projects from 68 countries. At a second phase, the Cork Block Shelter and nine other projects were available for voting online for about a month. The Portuguese project won with almost 65 thousand votes – the second place, Gonzalo Raymundo, did not manage to reach 20 thousand.



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