A: from the rural ashes +

‘library of tools for an alive rural’


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‘from the rural ashes’ project in A RIBEIRA SACRA.

link video


From the rural ashes proposes, through a process of observations and dialogues, an architectural answer to the problem of depopulation in the rural Galicia (Spain), via a new concept: the library of tools; and making use of that which has fallen into disuse: the ruins of San Paio Monastery.

the invisivilized world and its consequences: depopulation and ruins.

The rural world is emptying, leaving a landscape full of ruins. The nearby cities exert a strong pull on the inhabitants of rural areas. Those who resist leaving often lack means, creating the conditions for still more flight towards the cities as well as the loss of rural lifestyles which maintained a certain balance with the earth. This situation can be clearly seen in A Ribeira Sacra, a region in Galicia (Spain) where the monastery is located. The region has decreased 40% its population in the last 40 years and the amount of ruins have grown over the last few decades.

At first, the ruins seem to be traces from the distant past. After a look, the links with depopulation become clear. When we look deeper, an obscured world which makes life possible in the citiy emerges… The rushed city is prioritised and the rural becomes invisibilized and mistreat. 


programmatic steps, for a realistic proposal.

From the rural ashes proposes a communal facility – a library of tools – in a majestic ruin of A Ribeira Sacra – a monastery – to revive the rural against depopulation and to make visible the rural links which make our urban life possible. Rural inhabitants will be able to earn a  living at a trade thanks to the knowledge, tools and equipment they can find in the library and people from the city will have a place to discover and appreciate rural skills.

a visivilized world and its consequences: reactivating and restoration.


In the library of tools at the monastery, architectures are born throughout dialogues. Those dialogues are established throughout conversations with the city, the environment, the past and the inhabitants of the area.

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architectural steps, for a realistic proposal.

Architectures emerge from points of encounter with the city, activities to connect with the environment, spaces to pass on stories, places to encourage coexistence among inhabitants… The almáciga (place for holding memories), the workshops (tool storage) and the residence (gathering place) represent those architectures along the ruins. They all come together in the traditional courtyard, – the eira.

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a eira, the meeting point.



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views from the workshops, almáciga and residence.

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The dialogues which make the architectures possible have wood in common. The use of wood throughout the project represents the connection of the whole, – it unites older and more modern ways of building, as older and younger generations cohabit in harmony.


the construction process, steps for restoring a ruin.


main detailing, encounter with the existing wall. 

In the end, From the rural ashes longs to give a voice to the invisibilized world, through the language of architecture. It provides a place for connection with the rural region and its inhabitants, to build future horizons.



Architect: Paula Cores Barral

Type of project: academic project, final master thesis (AAS Tilburg)

Phase: research and definitive design           

Topic: rural facility, library of tools             

Results: Archiprix NL 2020 NOMINEE                      

Place: A Ribeira Sacra (SP)                                        

Year: 2019      

Mentor(s): Alison Killing, Jan Willem van Kuilenburg and Pieter Feenstra

* under CC BY-NC-SA 4.0