Traditional Galician architecture combines stone and wood as main building materials. You had the opportunity to see some examples in other points of your travel, for example, like Mills and “hórreos”. Walking around the historical village of Corcubión, we will see the main characteristics of traditional houses and understand the reason why they are this way.
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Traditional Galician architecture
Traditional Galician architecture is simple, practical and adapted to the environment where it isinserted. Topography, weather conditions and the materials available in each area determine the architectural solutions applied.
The rainy and humid weather makes stone the main material to use, due to its performance against water action; it is a resistant material and it keeps its characteristics in time. For this reason, it is used in main structural elements in building, such as bearing walls. The type of stone used varies according the geographic area: granite, schist or lab; Corcubión is settled in a granitic geological area.
Wood is used to elaborate horizontal structures (such as beams and framing), in isolated pillars, in windows and doors, in roof structures, and in all the elements which require a light and flexible material. It is usually oak, pine or walnut wood.
In traditional Galician houses, the floors are regular and simple (usually rectangular); except in eastern mountains, where the “pallozas” floors are circular. The walls are made with “cantería” (regular stones) or “cachotería” (irregular stones); in the last case, it is usual that windows and doors are framed with “perpiaños” (type of beam made of granite) to give stability. They have gable roofs, whose slope is between 25% and 40% to guarantee the right water evacuation, and with labs finishing (typical in the East of Galicia) or ceramic tiles (more usual in the West).
The most common type is the two-storey house with some outdoors or indoors stairs to access the second floor. The building of two floors allowed the development of new architectural structures:
- Colonnades (“soportais”): The main facade of the main building goes back in the ground floor and it is built a stone structure which is supported in columns or pillars. This way, a covered space is created, opened to the street and along it, since the houses are next to one another. The neighbours can walk along them freely, so the public space is integrated in the building and the other way around.
- The “corredores” are exterior balconies facing rising sun (that is why they are also called “solainas”) which are located under the extension of the roof. The floor is made of stone, it is supported in brackets of the same material, and demarcated with a wrought iron or wood banister.
- The galleries are structures which are completely closed in wood and stained glass, which sometimes (not always) stand out the main facade of the building. Sash windows are used to ventilate the house, and they may be decorated.
The “soportais, corredores and galerías” help to protect the facade from wind and rain, and improving the thermal insulation of the house.
See it all for yourself!
Corcubión council is one of the smallest in Galicia, being the territory in between the peace of Rías Baixas and wildness and living nature of Costa da Morte.
It is located at the foot of Monte Quenxe, in a natural area for the boats to stop, with an easy exit to the sea and well connected by road. The village is located between the summit and the coast line, what determines its N-S longitudinal configuration. The same design as its main streets, connected between them by secondary ones, and with the houses facing the sun.
In 1984 the village was declared “Historic-Artistic Site” and in 2000 “Galician Touristic Council” by Xunta de Galicia, appreciating the history of the council, the beautiful landscapes and the great amount of tourists who visit it.
Corcubión is a picturesque spot, a fishing village, where you can find unique places where religious, civil and popular heritage live in perfect harmony.
We would like to highlight the galerías in white wood, which are really representative in many fishing villages. In the origin, the back facades of the houses of fishers were close to the sea, so the “soportais” in the ground floor were used to do jobs related to nets, salting and sale of fish, and even to keep the boats in stormy days. Apart from the beauty factor, the most important value of these elements is related to functionality and energy optimization.
We invite you to walk around its streets looking for its beautiful doors, shutters and other wood elements which make it a wonderful village.
We are in a moment of flourishing and evolution of building in wood with an important tendency in the increase of its use as a natural material and renewable, since cities should grow taking into account the climate change to fight against it.
Technological advances, new systems of prefabrication, and some processes which increase security, efficiency and sustainability, make wood is used in buildings more and more, connecting our spaces indoors with nature thanks to its warmth, texture and beauty.
Some new tools and methodology of collaborative work, such as BIM (Building Information Modelling) to create and manage a building project, speed the processes. Numerical control machines (CNC), allow us to mechanize beams and panels, and they also create customized components, creating pieces in a fast and efficient way, which can be assembled later, reducing mistakes, manpower and working time.
The Biophilic Design contributes to a connexion with nature and to create healthier environments, outdoors and indoors. The use of wood is one of the most direct ways to connect people and nature improving our well-being. The biophilic design is not being used in houses, but specially in educational spaces, hospitals or offices, improving this way people’s experiences in these areas.
The Green policies drove by different governments consider wood and other forestry products essential to reduce emissions.
The role of PEFC
More and more world Governments establish Green Public Procurement Plans, in order to use wood or forestry products which are legal and sustainable, rating very positively those which have PEFC forestry certification, because it guarantees those goals.
The European Commission, in its Manual about the Green Public Procurement recommends to incorporate to the contract specifications the sustainable forestry management criteria of the PEFC certification or similar.
In Galicia, for example, the Health Service establishes in its contract specifications for energy supply associated to several hospitals, to provide as primary thermal energy biomass, such as pellets and/or wood, and it will need to have the PEFC Chain of Custody Certification or similar, ensuring traceability in the manufacturing process, with a sustainable origin.
You can help us to protect Forests! The only thing you should do is choosing PEFC certified products when you are buying. Specially when you choose forestry materials instead of non renewable alternatives, such as plastic. Did you know that 4% of the petrol production in the world is used to produce plastic?