Elii The Architectures of Robinson Crusoe

The architectures of Robinson Crusoe

Research Project for El Ranchito Finland

The architectures of individualism

#RobinsonCrusoe #ArchitecturesOfIndividualism

The architectures of Robinson Crusoe is a research project developed between Madrid and Helsinki, by the invitation of Matadero Madrid, within the project for El Ranchito Finland residences. This project forms part of an extensive research around the imaginaries of modern-day individualism that have determined the configuration of contemporary cities. Robinson Crusoe is a Promethean seminal myth, crucial to understanding how to configure the individualism that becomes in the modern citizen of liberal societies.
The history of the settlement of a shipwrecked sailor on an island is usually reported as a process of the individual overcoming process. As a battle between man and nature. Like the conquest of technical mastery and industrious knowledge, outside society. But, in reality, what the novel shows is the execution of a script pre-set by an actor who does not know that he plays a role. Robinson Crusoe is the representation within a representation: the manufacture of a replica, materialized on the island, of a lost civilization. The frustrated persecution of a fantastical original. The mechanical reproduction of a model that will never come back, because it only dwells in his memory. Crusoe does not wish, he recreates. He doesn´t let himself to be transformed by the experience, he reestablish himself through work. No room is left for the strength of the feasible, as he holds it back in his search for an origin. Although the first edition of the book of 1719 is titled the ‘Life and Strange and Surprising Adventures of Robinson Crusoe’, in reality, it had little to do with his fantastic life on the island. Little deviated from the model learned in his native land. The novel narrates a representation within a representation: Crusoe is determined to transform the island, with small architectural operations, in a setting where English civilization is represented. A scenario without an audience, a film set, where the island is a scenery, objects, props and the inhabitants, extras. Robinson Crusoe is a fiction inside another fiction. But it is a fiction that fantasizes about the elimination of the fantastical in favor of an economy reproduction of the world.
This project studies, on the one hand, the spread of the Robinson Crusoe myth in so many other texts that have considered him as a controversial interlocutor and have participated in its consolidation in the collective memory, as J. J. Rousseau, K. Marx, J. Joyce, G. Deleuze, M. Tournier, M. Mingley, F. Savater, etc., Moreover, explores the materials ecologies and visual ecologies thanks to which Robinson Crusoe architectures are deployed.

The story of Robinson Crusoe is normally told as a battle between man and nature. But, in reality, what the novel demonstrates is the transformation of the island into a cinema set.

Robinson Crusoe is a fiction within a fiction.

The heroic castaway, alone facing danger, is nothing but an actor that performs a script, playing a role on a stage.

Robinson Crusoe is a representation within a representation

He gradually transforms the island with small architectural interventions so that HIS SHOW can begin.

Robinson Crusoe survives on the island thanks to the vocabularies of morals and work, but inhabits a set thanks to techniques of drama.

Robinson Crusoe does not desire, he only reproduces. HE does not allow himself to be transformed by the island, he only replicates. HE does not allow room for other possible worlds in his VAIN pursuit of a phantasmatic original.

Robinson Crusoe it is the fiction which fantasises with the elimination of experience and the fantastical.

Robinson Crusoe is composed as a coral myth: the first BEST SELLER in the English language is NOW being disseminated through multiple voices that maintain this fiction alive.

The architectures of Robinson Crusoe are not architectures meant for survival, but routines for the materialization of a movie set, a stage without an audience. Here the landscape is a stage mechanism, the objects are props, and the inhabitants, extras.

The TRUTH is that only in the eye of the camera, the island is an island in the Pacific. A pacific Isalnd.


Arquitectos / Architects: elii – Uriel Fogué + Eva Gil + Carlos Palacios
Equipo/Team:    elii- Ana Herreros + Eva Rubio + Pedro P. García + Alicia García
Gracias / Thanks to: María Jerez and Carlos Monleón
Promotor/Developer: Matadero Madrid
Fotógrafía/Photography: Miguel de Guzmán (www.imagensubliminal.com)

Superficie: 75,0m2
Fecha Date: 2014
Emplazamiento: Nave 16.1 Matadero Madrid


Architects: elii

+34 911157658
c/ Maestro Arbós 3
28045 Madrid, SPAIN

elii carries out its professional activity in the following fields: Infrastructures, Urban Development, Public Spaces, Individual and Collective housing, Offices and Work Centres, Industrial Buildings, Ephemeral Architecture and Design of Museum Exhibitions and collaboration with artists. Elii covers all stages of the project, from the design phase to project management, working both in the public and private sectors, in Spain and Abroad. Founded in 2006 and based in the centre of Madrid, its founding partners and current directors are the architects Uriel Fogué Herreros, Eva Gil Lopesino and Carlos Palacios Rodriguez, all of whom have previously worked in architectural firms of international renown. They currently combine their work at elii with teaching (in several Spanish universities of international renown) and editorial work (UHF magazine). Their work and articles have appeared in specialized publications and exhibitions, having obtained recognition and awards for outstanding performance, amongst which are the FAD Opinion Award (2005), or the awards received from the Official College of Architects of Madrid “a la Obra Bien Hecha”(2006), “a la Obra de los Arquitectos” (2011), and “COAM Award” (2013) or the JustMad Award to Emergent Creativity (2013). They have been amongst those selected to appear in the “Arquia Próxima” catalogue (also issued by the Official College of Architects of Madrid) in its 2006-207, 2008-2009, 2010-2011 issues, having been recognized in this last one as one of the 10 most relevant teams of young architects in the region. They have also taken part in the “Madrid 100% Arquitectura II” (2011), catalogue and Itinerant International Exhibition, where one of their works was considered one of the top 100 by the Official College of Architects of Madrid. They were also similarly distinguished in the XII Buenos Aires International Biennial Architecture Exhibition (2011), recently selected as one of the “100 architects of the year 2012” in the exhibition for the KIA Korean Institute of Architects and the UIA International Union of Architects in Seoul (2012) and as a part of the exhibition FreshLatino 2 (2013). Elii is a member of the “Creadores de Madrid” and “FreshMadrid” archives.