Intermediate 11 Chak Hin Leung, Intermediate 11 (2015-16) - an outdoor bathing ritual for naturists to explore the subtlety of the flat volcanic landscape under the minimum construction

Total Immersion Tour Operator: Toxic Landscapes in Deep Andalusia

Manuel Collado Arpia, Nacho Martín Asunción, Nerea Calvillo

The relationship between physical and virtual spaces is being completely redefined. Reality alone is no longer a clear enough label for the things we encounter. Digital technologies have created a rich hybrid of virtual and real environments, and as architects, we are confronted with a whole set of new tools for envisioning the spaces of this mixed reality. We must now create and design the spatial conditions to inhabit these new experiences and enhance the qualities of both worlds.

Intermediate 11 has already travelled to far-off destinations - exploring alternative techno-activism in emerging countries like South Africa; hedonistic countercultural territories in Goa and Ibiza; and radical touristic landscapes in Lanzarote. This year, the unit will once again work as a virtual tourist agency in controversial environments, moving from a hypernatural environment to a toxic one - the vast open-cast mines of the Río Tinto in Andalusia. Our site is a perfect ground for testing new forms of tourism. The mines coexist with delicate ecosystems, like Doñana National Park, and traditional rituals involving colourful religious pilgrimages like romerías. Both contexts offer the unit a unique backdrop and touristic network for observation and research.

This year's Total Immersion Tour Operator agency will explore new ways of perceiving, inhabiting and enjoying these synthetic ecosystems. The unit will address the role of the tourist within a polluted environment, and consider how virtual reality can play a fundamental part in reimagining ways of inhabiting the toxic.


Manuel Collado Arpia and Nacho Martín Asunción are founders of the Madrid-based office Mi5 Architects and its digital counterpart Made in Space VR, which is aimed to design virtual architectures. Since 2003 they have taught at various institutions such as UAH Madrid, UA Alicante and UCJC Madrid. They regularly participate in juries, travel as guest lecturers and participate in exhibitions such as the Venice Biennale, RIBA London, IVAM Valencia and GD-NYU. They both obtained their PhDs from ETSAM Madrid in 2013.

Nerea Calvillo is an architect, researcher and curator. Both the work of her office, C+ arquitectos, and her own visualisation projects have been widely published and exhibited. She has taught at the UEM, Alicante University, the AA and Harvard GSD. Formerly a Poiesis Fellow at NYU and curator of Medialab-Prado's Connecting Cities Network European project, she is assistant professor at the Centre for Interdisciplinary Methodologies at the University of Warwick. She holds a PhD from ETSAM Madrid.

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