• Post category:architecture

The Truffle – A Rock Like Shelter Built With The Help of a Hungry Cow

The Truffle by Ensemble Studios

The Truffle by Ensemble Studios is a piece of nature built with earth in Spain. A space within a stone that sits on the ground and blends in with the territory. It’s camouflaged by emulating the processes of mineral formation in its structure, and integrates with the natural environment.

The Truffle by Ensemble Studios

The Trufa

The interior of the Truffle (Trufa):
The structure has a fireplace, plumbing and quite a view.

The exterior of the Truffle (Trufa):
Truffle exterior

The building process (with some help from Paulina, the calf):
To build it, Ensemble Studios made a hole in the ground, piling up the removed topsoil on its perimeter. Then, they filled the volume with hay bales and flooded the space between the earth and the built space to solidify it. The mass was then filled with poured concrete. Time passed and they removed the earth discovering an amorphous mass.

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 they had created was not yet architecture, they had fabricated a stone.

They then made a few cuts using quarry machinery to explore its core and discovered its mass inside filled with hay, now compressed by the hydrostatic pressure exerted by concrete on the flimsy vegetable structure.

To empty the interior, they brought in a calf named Paulina, and she enjoyed the 50m3 of hay, from which she was nourished for a year until she left her habitat as an adult and weighing 300 kilos.

Paulina the calf
Paulina in the Truffle

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.

Time lapse video:

all images and video courtesy of Ensemble Studios