Somatic architecture is the one capable of assuming in its systems and materiality the ecological and socio-political vicissitudes of multiple bodies. In addition somatic architecture learn from the living tissues and processes of bodies and establishes with them assemblages of living matter, life forms and artificial intelligences.
There are five main aspects that articulate somatic architectures: 1/ Spatial navigation, where we study and work with dissident geometries and positions of bodies and unstable grounds; 2/ Living systems, considering and learning from our animal body and relationships in between bodies and environments, also living matter in its structure; 3/ Anthropology of the senses, where we address cultural and idiographic meanings given to experiences using somatic ethnographies, happenings, and studies on dance and architecture; 4/Imagination, looking into imaginarios and body images and their politic and ecological implications; and 5/ Embodied cognition, including somatic epistemology, non conscious and distributed cognition and ecologies of intimacy.
Somatic architecture works both, to give support to the more vulnerable bodies and to regulate – through somatic learning and activism – the excessive requirements of the privileged bodies.
Somatic architecture is the work of our platform PSAAP and its associated laboratory LSAAP. Nowadays we work with bodies and in projects and research of architecture, landscape, city, art or performance.
Definitely, we could say that the inception of all what we do rest in body experiences.
Our theoretical roots can be found in aspects of phenomenology, somatics and new materialism within philosophy; in questions referred to radical imagination in politics and feminist studies; in psychology through its cognitive branch; and in some considerations from ethology and anthropology. Our latest research is framed more precisely in animal studies, queer ecologies and post-humanist thought, always in relation to somatic-based architecture.
Our practical foundations are linked to the Feldenkrais method of somatic education, which allow us to consider deeply physiology, anatomy, inter-species aspects and environment.
The Feldenkrais method is a movement pedagogy, focused on the re-distribution and reduction of effort in muscles, enhancing lines of forces to travel mainly along the skeleton. In this way the method works with perception, especially proprioception, and the visualization of lines of movement within the body and the environment. But it is also a transversal journey into living systems and their various forms. The Feldenkrais method links movement and cognition.
We work with this system as basis in collective sessions (in the format of Happenings and Lab seminars) and in individual sessions (Body-to-body sessions). Through movement we have access to something much more complex: Acting-Feeling-Sensing-Thinking are intertwined. And the body images of the multiple bodies have also deep political consequences.
Bodies bring us to projects and experiences with strong ecological, affective, socio-political or atmospheric considerations and we put them together with our community coordinated by this platform.
Even though pedagogy, development of projects and research are strongly attached and in practice they share methodologies, in order to proceed to visualize our contents, we expose here three branches:
Isaap (Implementation of Architectural, Art and Landscape Projects)
Lsaap (Laboratory and Workshops)
Mª Auxiliadora Gálvez (Córdoba, Spain. 1973) is architect by E.T.S.A.M (1998) and PhD in Architecture since 2012. She is Landscaper recognized by AEP (Asociación Española de Paisajistas) and IFLA (International Federation of Landscape Architects). She is also Teacher of the Feldenkrais Method of somatic education by the Feldenkrais Institute (2018).
Since 1997 teaches at the E.P.S San Pablo C.E.U University (Faculty of Architecture), mainly in Architecture Design Studios and coordinating the Diploma Thesis Workshop. She is accredited as Professor by ANECA and has gained recognition for three six-year periods of research. In between 2008 and 2013 she teaches also at the Master of Collective Housing in Madrid (E.T.S.A.M) and has been invited to develop diverse workshops, lectures or postgraduate programs in TU Graz, Panama University, Ljubljana Architecture School, Politecnico di Milano, Greenwich University, Harvard University, HafenCity Universität, Cyprus University, FADU Buenos Aires, Columbia GSAPP or EPFL in Switzerland.
She has developed her PhD research at E.T.S.A.M about choreography and dance as experimental laboratories for Architecture in terms of space and environment, atmosphere, political aspects and creative tools; for this research she wins in 2010 a grant from E.P.S C.E.U and the Santander Bank, to stay for six months at the Academy of Fine Arts in Vienna. The PhD work has been awarded with a Mention in the National Competition of ARQUIA TESIS 2013.
Since 1998 till 2000, she collaborates in Abalos & Herreros Office of Architecture.
Since 2000 she develops projects in an autonomous way and in 2003 founds- together with Izabela Wieczorek- “Gálvez+Wieczorek Architecture” (G+W) in Madrid, office active till 2016, when she founds the “Platform of Somatic for Architecture and Landscape” (PSAAP).
She has been distinguished in national and international contests, highlighting the 1º Prize received at Europan VI in Córdoba; Landscape Award in “Ciudad Levante” International Competition; 1º Prize at Europan VII in Murcia; 1º Prizes at Celebration of cities (UIA) in the local and national stages; Distinction at “Lausanne Jardins 2009” (as G+W the last four), Runner Up at Europan IX in Delemont, Switzerland; and Finalist at “The Next Helsinki”, at the “Laguna Art Prize” (Venecia) or at Piazza Castello International Competition in Milan between others. Recently PSAAP has obtained highlighted positions in international contests like the one about the Metropolitan Forest in Madrid (second position) or the one about a therapeutic natural area for the PCCB in Barcelona (3º Prize).
In 2001 she obtained a grant at the Casa de Velázquez and in 2012 an EEA Grant of the Norwegian Embassy in Madrid.
Her work has been published, among others, in “Natural Artificial” by EXIT.LMI, in the journals UHF, BAUWELT, Summa+, 2G, Deutsche Bauzeitung, Arquitectura Viva, Arquine, Zarch, Journal of Somaesthetics or in the monography “Excepto 21. Gálvez+Wieczorek”. Her architecture has been exhibited several times, highlighting “Freshmadrid”, “Génération Europan” and “Gran Vía Laboratory” promoted by the C.O.A.M, The French Institute of Architecture (Paris) and Telefónica Foundation respectively. She has also implemented art installations and performances at the Reina Sofía Museum in Madrid, at Dancehouse Lefkosia (Nicosia), at the art gallery Galería Nieves Fernández (Madrid) or at the Zentrum Fokus Forschung of Die Angewandte in Vienna.
In 2002 she was selected for the 8th Venice Architecture Biennale and in 2018 her work was part again of the material selected for the Spanish Pavilion at the 16ª Biennale.
She has been jury member in different occasions highlighting Europan VIII, X and XII, the 12th edition of the “Premios de la Región de Murcia” or the COAM awards in 2015.
As researcher, she has been part of the Scientific Committee of the Congress “Middle-Class Housing in Perspective: From Post-war Construction to Post-millennial Urban Landscape” celebrated in Italy in 2012, co-director of “We Are All able Bodies. From Sensory Deprivation to Sensory Augmentation” celebrated in Spain in 2018 thanks to the support of the International Ambiances Network and she is author of the books: “Somatic Space. Multiple Bodies” (2019) and “WASTEGROUNDS. Walking revolutionary landscapes in the somatic city” (2022) – this text has been awarded with a publishing grant of the Comunidad de Madrid.
Between 2006 and 2010 she has been Coordinator for Panama in the International Cooperation of Social Housing developed by the Andalucian Government.
Nowadays she works in Landscape, Art and Architecture from a somatic point of view. She is member of the “International Ambiances Network” (France); is part also of the research directory of the “Centre for Sensory Studies” (Canada) and participates in the international Blue Sky Research for the Arts project “Navigating Dizziness Together” based in Vienna.
SOMATIC ARCHITECTURE is the one capable of assuming in its materiality and in its systems the ecological and socio-political vicissitudes of the multiple bodies that inhabit and shape it. It remains in continuous intimacy with them and evolves and transforms itself according to the multiple rhythms of its diverse organisms. It is a somatic design for and with the more-than-human world.