The Galician Hórreo and its Cultural Fields

By Ron Dulaney Jr..

Published by The International Journal of Design in Society

Format Price
Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

Following their introduction to maize in 1492, New World explorers brought the crop to Europe, the Middle East, Asia, and Africa. While this crop, initially cultivated by indigenous Americans, is incapable of reproducing independently, the fact that it grows in more places than any other grain demonstrates its adaptability. While adaptable, maize, or corn, will quickly spoil if dried and stored outside of delicately balanced environmental conditions. The granary is the primary vehicle of mediation between a particular growing environment and the universal parameters required for a grain’s curing and storage. Agricultural engineers have outlined the science of configuring the granary to mediate between these conditions. This study explores the material and tectonic characteristics of a unique corn granary typology of coastal Galicia in northwestern Spain as an assimilation of an external, universal crop, and its requisite storage within a particular material–cultural territory. The presence of this particular granary typology and its variants clearly demarcates the boundaries of this territory and contributes to the definition of a unique regional identity traditionally associated with agriculture and fishing. The unique tectonic expression of the hórreo de piedra, in particular among the typological variants, is interwoven with broader craft traditions of the region. “Critical regionalism” and “tectonics”, as posited by Kenneth Frampton and others, provide theoretical references in this analysis of the hórreo de piedra as a monument demarcating cultural and territorial fields. Through seeking relationships between tectonic expression and a particular cultural territory, this study reinforces understandings of tectonic form within material-cultural and territorial frameworks.

Keywords: Vernacular, Granary, Hórreo, Spain, Tectonic, Regionalism, Territory

The International Journal of Design in Society, Volume 6, Issue 1, pp.25-46. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 2.299MB).

Ron Dulaney Jr.

Assistant Professor, Interior Design Program, West Virginia University, Morgantown, USA

Ron Dulaney Jr. is an architect and assistant professor of interior design at West Virginia University.