Hiding landscape. Building landscape

This project is exhibited in the Spanish Pavilion at the 

Seoul Biennale of Architecture and Urbanism – SBAU2019

Exhibition in Seoul, South Korea

The Spanish Pavilion was curated by:
Gutiérrez-delaFuente Arquitectos

2018 – 2019


Film and photography : Davide Curatola Soprana 
Text : Viviana Rubbo 

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The collective dimension in the circular city – the construction of new imaginaries along the M45 highway infrastructure
“Places know more than us, if we try to re-signify them, as a matter of fact they are the ones who redefine us and tell us who we are” 
(La Cecla, anthropologist, from ‘Perdersi, l’uomo senza ambiente’)


There is an urgency of setting up a relationship of circularity between the urban functions, in particular when talking about the reduction of resource consumption, waste recycling and the transformation of residuals into new assets for the well-functioning of the complex urban metabolism. This is a challenge that European cities must place at the top of their urban policy agendas.

The photographic work about Madrid proposes an unusual perspective outlining a reflection on the emergence of new proximities and forms of “re-conquer, re-appropriation” and “urban stay” in spaces which are commonly defined post-industrial such as the territories of the South-East. Areas in which mining activities, processing of biodegradable materials, stockpile of inert solid and large logistic infrastructures follow one another in a linear pattern, defining the landscape of the productive city as deep-rooted in the collective imaginary. But how to go beyond this consolidated image and try to stimulate and nurture new imaginaries, supporting a forward-looking thinking on the transition towards the circularity of the urban metabolism?


In this city that pushes forward and absorbs new territory, in what looks like a dreamlike spaces, sometimes alien, spaces of collective use, urban gardens, recreational areas and ‘places to think’ are unexpectedly revealed and coexist with elements which appear extraneous (industrial plants, logistic hubs), giving life to new landscapes and new forms of urban coexistence. 

While decoding and decomposing the singular elements that originate this new landscape and focusing on the role of each activity and its impact on the territory, the challenge of photography is to offer a new level of interpretation bringing together a global picture of the complexity of the urban system. These images give new meaning for territories in transition. By proposing a new imagery for the M45, this photographic work aims to foster a reflection on the city as a cooperative metabolism and a collective entity.

© Viviana Rubbo – UrbanReports

La dimensión colectiva en la ciudad circular – La construcción de nuevos imaginarios

“Los lugares nos conocen mejor que nosotros mismos, si buscamos re-signifcarlos, en realidad son ellos los que nos re-definen y nos dicen quienes somos”.
Franco La Cecla, del ensayo “Perdersi, l’uomo senza ambiente’

La necesidad de crear un sistema de relaciones de circularidad entre funciones urbanas, la necesidad de reducir consumos, optimizar la diferenciación de los residuos y su reutilización, re-interpretándolos como nuevos recursos en el funcionamiento del metabolismo urbano. Es un reto que la ciudades tienen que priorizar en su agenda política urbana. El reportaje fotográfco sobre Madrid nos ofrece una mirada no convencional que propone una refexión sobre nuevas proximidades y formas de re-apropriación y de habitar espacios definidos post-industriales, como los territorios del sureste madrileño. Espacios donde actividades de extracción, de reciclaje, de depósito de materiales y de la gran infraestructura logística se alinean definiendo el paisaje de la ciudad productiva hoy día consolidado en lo imaginario colectivo. ¿Cómo ir más allá e intentar fomentar y nutrir nuevos imaginarios? ¿Cómo sustentar una reflexión sobre la transición hacia una necesaria circularización del metabolismo urbano?

En esta ciudad que avanza y consume suelo, en un espacio onírico, casi marciano, descubrimos espacios de uso colectivo, huertas urbanas, espacios lúdicos y “lugares de pensar”, que conviven con elementos solo aparentemente ajenos, construyendo nuevos paisajes y nuevas formas de convivencia urbana. Codificando y descomponiendo los elementos que forman este paisaje y poniendo la atención sobre el rol de estas actividades y de su impacto sobre el territorio, el reto de la fotografía es proponer un nuevo punto de vista capaz de recomponer una visión del conjunto del sistema urbano, imágenes ricas de nuevos significados en un territorio cambiante y en transición. Proponiendo un nuevo imaginario para la M45, este trabajo fotográfico quiere acompañar una reflexión sobre la ciudad entendida como metabolismo cooperante y una entidad colectiva.

© Viviana Rubbo – UrbanReports

hiding landscape.
building landscape


The M45 hides and builds various landscapes at the same time. My exploration of the South-East of Madrid aimed to investigate the relationship between the landscape and the highway infrastructure. Getting out of the car, walking very close to the highway gave me the opportunity to feel that landscape that is so far from the imaginary of the contemporary Madrid. Just like geology works and adopting its explorative approach, I chose a series of shooting locations placed at 2.5 km one from another, along a 35 km investigation line “interrupted” by the mobility network heading South, the radial roads and the Manzanares and Jarama rivers. Following this methodology, our collective builds a new visual palimpsest, which places itself between the documentation and the authorship. Walking through the territory with the tool of documentary photography, we have the opportunity to slow down and observe the landscape with another pace and, perhaps, find a new paradigm that softens the ways we occupy the space and transform our environment.


La M45 esconde y construye a la vez una serie de paisajes. Mi exploración al sureste de Madrid tuvo como objetivo investigar la relación entre el paisaje y una infraestructura viaria. Bajar del coche, caminar muy próximo a la autopista me dió la oportunidad de sentir un paisaje que está fuera del imaginario del Madrid contemporáneo. Cómo actúa la geología y su matriz de ensayos. Elegí una serie de paradas con una distancia máxima entre toma y toma fotográfica de 2,5 km en una linea de casi 35 km “interrumpida” por las autopistas hacia el sur, las radiales y los ríos Manzanares y Jamara. Con esta metodología nuestro colectivo construye un nuevo palimpsesto visual, entre lo documental y la autoría. Caminando por el territorio con la herramienta de la fotografía documental tenemos la oportunidad de ralentizar el contexto, de observar el paisaje con otro ritmo, y quizás, encontrar un nuevo paradigma que suavice las formas de asentarse en el territorio y de trasformar definitivamente nuestro entorno.

© Davide Curatola Soprana – Urban Reports

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The research book for the 서울도시건축비엔날레 Seoul Biennale of Architecture and Urbanism

The project is a reflection on the new proximities in the post-industrial productive city and its impact on the political, ecological, spatial, social and economic level. The city of Madrid has served as a case study, specifically the Southern-East areas where our photographic narrative was developed. The project has seen the cooperation between a number of institutional actors and professionals, among others, the Spanish Ministry of Economic Development, the Municipality of Madrid, the team of multidisciplinary experts working on the Spanish Urban Agenda with the contribution of Kristiaan Borret, Luis Fernandez Galliano, Kaye Geipel, Bernd Vlay and our collective Urban Reports! The Seoul Biennale will run from September until November of 2019 and will be held at the Donuimun Museum Village, Seoul.



095 2019


on pages 75 – 79

get your copy here

Part of this work was awarded at the XV BEAU Bienal Española de Arquitectura y Urbanismo. For the first time, the Spanish exhibition introduced an award to the best photographs that dealt with the relationship between transformation, territory and landscape. Among nearly 500 photographs submitted, 21 images by 8 photographers were awarded in Valladolid during the ceremony on July 2, 2021. 

Click here to get your free copy of the XV BEAU catalogue


landscape architecture photography documentary

La fabricación del paisaje. Los Berrocales desde el Cerro Almodóvar. Septiembre 2018, Madrid

La Gran Avenida del Sur Este en el PAU de los Berrocales. Septiembre 2018, Madrid

Los Ahijones. Desde la M203 Vicalváro – Rivas del Jarama. Marzo 2019, Madrid