This year’s Rafael Manzano Traditional Architecture Summer School takes place in the Baztán Valley of Northern Spain from 17-30 July. Jason Fajardo, a student from the Philippines, is writing a blog about his experience on the course.
It was a sunny morning, and my colleagues and I just came from an exhausting 29-hour journey crossing seas from Manila to Madrid. Exhaustion was quickly forgotten though as we set foot in Spain. The beautiful morning sun, the amazing architecture and the warm friendly locals reenergized us and helped us get ready for our next task: navigating the city.
We found ourselves lost as navigating through a foreign place was expectedly confusing. We only knew a bit of Español so there was a language barrier; it was hard to ask for directions. We eventually reached the bus where we would meet other participants of the summer school program. Once we entered the bus, we were greeted with firm handshakes, warm hellos, and smiles beaming at us from these warm strangers. I walked my way to the back of the bus, sat down on my seat -smiling- excited for what is to come. If this was any indication of the coming days; then I’m strapped in for an amazing journey.
It was quite a long ride from Madrid to the valley but the scenic route made it all worthwhile. The first stop was a stone masonry lesson in the city of Garztan. It was quite the experience. The group was briefly introduced to the work that was to be done during the duration of our stay, and a general description of stone masonry and its importance to architecture, especially to heritage conservation. Soon after, there were demonstrations of multiple techniques of stone cutting, whether it be the ancient way of hammering stone for the purpose of keeping its natural texture, or the use of diamond chain cutters for mechanical precision. There were other demonstrations, including the use of a large circular saw for cutting stone, and multiple types of masonry tools and techniques including manual and automatic methods.
Click here to continue reading on the Rafael Manzano Summer School website.