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Architecture students present their ideas for the future National Volcanological Center to the Mayor of El Paso (La Palma)

After traveling to the Cumbre Vieja area in January, 64 students from the University have designed 11 proposals for this Center.

FotoManuelCastells/Architecture 5th year students with the Mayor and members of the City Council of El Paso (La Palma) and teachers of the School and guests.

03 | 03 | 2023

Architecture students from the University of Navarra have presented the mayor of El Paso (La Palma), Sergio Rodríguez, with 11 proposals for design of the future National Volcanological Center.

The City Council of El Paso and the School of Architecture signed an agreement partnership agreement for 5th year students and professors of the Degree in programs of study of Architecture to work on projects to design a National Volcanological Center (CVN) -the City Council has applied as a municipality to host it- in the Cumbre Vieja area, where the Tajogaite volcano is located.

The mayor of El Paso has traveled to Pamplona together with the councilman of Works, Eloy Martín Barreto; the councilwoman of Culture, Festivities and Tourism, Irinova Hernández Toledo; and the municipal architect, Alejandro Haddad Hernández.

"We've had a very bad time, but now we have the opportunity to rebuild in a different way. They are taking this project as their own and that makes a difference. Thank you for defining the proposals thinking about taking care of the landscape and the palm trees. I want to thank the University for wanting to be with us from the beginning along this path. I hope that all this will lead us to look at the future in a more positive way", commented Sergio Rodriguez during the exhibition of the projects.

The students presented her with a plaque to show their appreciation. "Thank you for letting us build from emotions and learn from the palm trees and the wonderful landscape you have," said Valentina Corona, delegate of Degree in Architecture, on behalf of all her classmates.

Within the Oriented Designed Studio II subject , the 64 5th grade students, with the support of their teachers, are designing 11 proposals, one for each group. The National Volcanological Center they are working on consists of spaces for research, for knowledge dissemination and a residency program for scientists that will be tested as a housing prototype for emergencies (volcanic eruptions or other catastrophes). Given the extension and location of the site, the complex will be accompanied by a landscape infrastructure that will serve to get to know, understand and enjoy the rich environmental heritage that La Palma has to offer. For this reason, one or more observation points will be defined that can be linked to the Center and trails or routes that start from it.

5th GEA - Intermediate Jury CVN La Palma

Building on empathy

On September 19, 2021, the eruption of the Tajogaite volcano (located in the Cumbre Vieja Natural Park) of La Palma began. For 85 days, the people of La Palma had to deal with an emergency status that forced the eviction of 7,000 people. The lava, gases and pyroclasts expelled by the new cone covered more than 1,200 hectares and destroyed more than 1,300 houses.

To start devising the projects, it was necessary to know first-hand what the people of La Palma had gone through. Therefore, in January this year, students and professors traveled to La Palma to work 'in situ' on knowledge and talk to experts, local managers and the palmeros themselves. 

Naomi Nicolau and Manuela Trompiz, two of the 5th year Architecture students who are developing the project of the National Volcanological Center PHOTO: Gloria Armenteros

"It has been a very important and special opportunity to be able to develop the last project of degree program so real. We are very excited to create an architecture that can help people and that can make things different when there is an emergency," said student Naomi Nicolau. Her classmate Manuela Trompiz added: "It was very impressive to see the repercussions of the eruption in the area. In addition, we were able to discover the way of life of the palmeros. They are a very close-knit community and are deeply rooted to their land. All this helped us to empathize and to have a different point of view. I believe that the National Volcanological Center can become an emblematic place for the island. That's why we want our projects to go hand in hand with the people of La Palma as individuals. 

Thanks to this trip, the three mentions of Degree in Architecture (management of project Urban, management Creative and management of project Technical) obtained all the necessary information and have been working since then on the needs presented by the City Council of El Paso, making them compatible with the methodologies and teaching objectives.

This is not the first time that students from School of Architecture travel to the island. They also did it last July, but this time it was the students of Master's Degree in design and management Environmental Buildings, who worked in a project of collective housing in order to rehouse the affected families.

In the framework of the partnership agreement, in addition, the City Council of La Palma has donated to the Science Museum of the University of Navarra a group of volcanic rocks from the eruption of the Tajogaite. The rocks are on display from this Thursday at the entrance hall of the School.

exhibition Volcanic Rocks