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Alborada: A Post-Industrial Galician Landscape, 2022 

Alborada investigates the surviving ecologies of a wetland occupied by the paper industry and proposes a post-industrial afterlife for a decaying intertidal relic. 


Galicia produces 4 million tonnes of Eucalyptus wood yearly, 2 million are for exclusive supply of ENCE, paper paste factory translates in the occupation of. 500.000 hectares out of 2.9 million hectares of the total surface of the region are covered by Eucalyptus. 


Eucalyptus trees were first brought to Galicia by a catholic missionary from Australia. The purpose of incorporating the species was to dry up wetlands to avoid plagues and bacteria. The current cosecquences . The region is the most humid in the Iberian Peninsula, although it has hosted 40% of the “wild”-fires in the last 20 years. 


Before the Civil War, Spain was a Republic and Galicia had an Autonomy Statute. During the dictatorship, Galician culture was extremely censored and oppressed, to a point in which anyone willing to defend the idea of a nation will be executed or exiled.

One of the strategies of the regime for censorship and control over Galician land was the implementation of a cellulose factory in the Estuary of Pontevedra. The main supply for the factory is wood. Fast and cheap. Eucalyptus trees, previously used for hygienic social security and traditional medicine remedies, are now turned into a weapon to erase the native forest, its symbols, and links to the Celtic history and the people living in it. 


ENCE was founded in 1965 by a dictatorial regime on top of public land, an estuarine tidal wetland serving a community of more than 15000 fisherwomen.

Ever since, it has been operating illegally, polluting the estuary and destroying the native forest. Through direct liquid spills onto the river and constant fumes the marine biodiversity and birdlife have decreased by 80%. Some of the leaked chemicals include sulfur dioxide, nitrogen sulfide, and nitrogen oxide after the cease of the use of mercury in the 2000s. After the end of the Dictatorship, democratic governments have kept supporting the existence of the 2 km long machine. 


Project proposal 

Some characteristics presented by Eucalyptus plantations are; that they are mainly monocrops - very few species co-exist with them as they can have roots as deep as 60 metres underground which have enough strength to break rock and concrete in order to find water sources. When autochthonous species start a water competition with Eucalyptuses, they are bound to lose. Eucalyptus need very little maintenance and their leaves are toxic to most of the animal species, only Koalas have evolved to digest them. The reason behind their toxicity is that they can reach layers underground that are mainly composed of mineral rocks, therefore metabolising these up to their leaves. Their average height is 40-60 metres and the flexibility of its trunk allows them to bend with the wind very easily and as a consequence they are pyrophytic, they spread fire very fast and they have become dangerous to be around.


Due to continuous violation of environmental law, the concession for the use of the land has been recently denied and is expected to cease operations within 3 years. In this project, I want to explore the regeneration of the wetland and the forest. Recovering the ecosystem of the estuary through the implantation of a centre for fisherwoman community the estuary made out of the remains of the industrial infrastructure. 

Project Timeline

Intertidal Relic : fisherwoman centre 

Full project:

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