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Munching Cow Hollows Out Haybale Home With View

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Buildings are called buildings because they involve, well, building. Adding something to something. But in a completely novel approach to creating his holiday home in Spain, Anton García-Abril of Ensamble Studio had a tiny holiday haven hollowed out of hay bales. By a cow.

He arranged to let the cow munch her way into bales of hay for a year, building his future holiday home – not by building it – but by hollowing out the space inside.

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The architect and some friends stacked bales of hay, then covered their haystack with poured concrete to secure it and then piled earth on top and around it with an opening.

As the cow munched her way through the yummy hay in the cave created under the dirt, the concrete kept the earth from falling down on her, and she shaped a cozy space inside. The remaining hay walls she exposed were then rough-plastered to finish the interior.

A completely novel construction technique.

“To empty the interior, the calf Paulina arrived, and enjoyed the 50m3 of the nicest food, from which she nourished for a year until she left her habitat, already as an adult and weighing 300 kilos. She had eaten the interior volume, and space appeared for the first time, restoring the architectural condition of the truffle after having been a shelter for the animal and the vegetable mass for a long time”.

After her year of eating, García-Abril had his new space.

“The Truffle is a piece of nature built with earth, full of air; a space within a stone that sits on the ground and blends with the territory. It camouflages, by emulating the processes of mineral formation in its structure, and integrates with the natural environment, complying with its laws.”
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From the outside, this is less than truly gorgeous, but it makes it more unusual inside. The  window frame is set only on the outside, making it possible to create the illusion from inside, that the bed is open to the staggering view.

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The open air shower with the natural light from above – that is beautiful. And the way that from inside, the bed appears to be open to the air is lovely.

Images: Roland Halbe via Trendir

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