The poplar shines in the architecture festival TAC!

ProPopulus Team

The project ‘Chopo Activo’, by the architects Ignacio de Teresa, Lucía de Molina, Xianjun Zhou and Ignacio Hornillos, endorsed by LIFE Wood for Future,  received a mention in the competition for the design of the temporary pavilion at the Urban Architecture Festival TAC!

TAC! is a new urban architecture festival that aims to turn a Spanish city into a space for innovation and experimentation every year.

It will involve building a temporary pavilion the construction of which will be commissioned to young architects chosen in an open call.

The contest is an initiative of the Ministry of Transport, Mobility and Urban Agenda (Mitma), in collaboration with the Arquia Foundation. In its first edition, it received almost a hundred proposals from all over the world.

The winning project, ‘Aire’ by the Madrid studio P + S, will be built in the Plaza del Humilladero in Granada next autumn, this being the first edition of the festival.

Two other projects reached the finals and four more received mentions “for their architectural quality, as well as for their constructive integrity and coherence,” according to the jury.

‘Chopo Activo’, a contemporary vision of a traditional space

‘Chopo Activo’ is a project that offers an innovative image of the traditional tobacco dryer buildings of the Vega de Granada.

TAC! is a new urban architecture festival that aims to turn a Spanish city into a space for innovation and experimentation every year. Granada is the city of choice in 2022

It proposes to build a structure of poplar trunks, using the lower value elements from felled poplar trees in Granada. As architect Ignacio de Teresa explained, it is a traditional method used in the construction of tobacco dryers in La Vega:

“It seemed very suggestive to place a simple and cheap country structure in the centre of the city, which accumulates building know-how of over many years and fill it with contemporaneity and technology so that the city proposes uses for it”.

The architect recalls that, in the face of urban pressure, this industrial architectural heritage is a key piece to reactivate the Vega.

With a framework between trunks similar to that of the poplar groves, the pavilion ‘Chopo Activo’ is structured in modules of 4 x 4 meters. Like traditional dryers, it has no foundations, so once it is dismantled there are no residues left.

In addition, thanks to current technological knowledge, the use of metal plates would allow the pavilion to be disassembled and reassembled in another place. Using cables, meshes and an electrical network, the result is a multipurpose structure, with space for games and swings, rest areas and hanging exhibitions.

LIFE Wood for Future

In Granada, poplar has been used in construction work at least since the time of Al Ándalus (between 711 and 1492 AD). However, the use of poplar as structural wood declined in the second half of the 20th century, when it was replaced by bricks and concrete in dryers and rural buildings, while scaffolding began to be made of metal.

Since then, its leading destination has been the production of boxes and containers for the fruit and vegetable industry.

The LIFE Wood for Future project aims to be the engine of a ‘second poplar revolution’ in Granada, contributing to the improvement of biodiversity and carbon sequestration, and boosting the local economy thanks to the growing demand for wood for sustainable construction around the world.

To this end, the UGR Higher Technical School of Building Engineering and the Wood Engineering Platform (Pemade) of the University of Santiago de Compostela are developing two innovative products: laminated mixed poplar and pine beams and prefabricated mixed wood and concrete.

“The poplars have a high capacity for capturing carbon from the atmosphere, up to 30 tons per hectare per year, and provide other multiple environmental benefits: they act as green filters that clean the water that reach the aquifers, moderate the floods of the rivers and they serve as protection against erosion, they cool the environment, conserve the soil, improve air quality and are a habitat for many species of fauna”, recalls Antolino Gallego, professor at the UGR and coordinator of LIFE Wood for Future.

The Confederation of Silviculturist Organizations of Spain, the Provincial Council of Granada, the University of Santiago de Compostela, and the spinoff 3edata also participate in this project. For more information about this project contact them via email

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