Memorial Space and Monument to the 100th Anniversary of the Alcorta Farmers Revolt (2011-2018)/Claudio Vekstein
2A magazine has selected this project for its architectural achievements and professional concepts. Published in 2A Magazine issue# 44 Autumn 2019, Candidate of 2ACAA 2019, 2A South & Central America Award
Architect: Claudio Vekstein
Project’s location: Santa Fe Province, Argentina
The work celebrates the agrarian rebellion of small rural tenants, mostly Italian and Spanish immigrants, known as “El Grito de Alcorta” (1912). Focused in the town, it spread across the province and the country, giving rise to the Argentine Agrarian Federation. Engaging its Assembly and the Alcorta Commune through participatory work, the memorial evokes the farmers, their work and struggles, while actualizing it in a daily gathering space for farmers and citizens, overcoming passive, reverent monuments of the past. Four large exposed concrete foundations were present in the 100m. x 75m land, built in 1962 for the 50th anniversary’s sculptural figures in the soviet monumental “socialist realism” of Vera Mukhina’s. The current 400m2 built program unfolds instead small cultural functions, a civic plaza for public celebrations, a 150 people auditorium, and a gallery/interpretation center of the historical events. These intimate interior scales are housed at the northwest face of an extensive, folded exterior plane structured by large steel porticos, slanting frames and modular rugged panels. This screen carries the expressive aesthetic content, while articulating a monumental scale as a classic scenery, a forced perspective for tracks circulating on the route or arriving from town. The massive relief recalling historic “stockpiles” of sacks, rescued from the historic Archives, materializes in locally crafted resin panels reinforced with fiberglass and crude burlap molded on pixelated wooden forms. The concrete west pavilion holds the Federation’s offices and public toilets as steel profiles emerge from the plowed earth. Descending terraces above it are accessed by the exterior ramp along the main screen and a staircase following the stepping to contemplate the vast horizon and splendid Pampean sunsets. Rough textures rescue a textile and tactile grain portraying the labor engraved by the workers on the land, their clothes and rugged skins cracked by the sun —observed in “Manifestación”, painting alluding to the Grito de Alcorta by artist Antonio Berni (1934)—, the rough sacks piled up in the stowage. The exterior plowed pampas turn interior forming the plywood furniture and the folding exhibition surface, wrapping the auditorium in furrowed boards, ascending grooves and wheat ears.