RANQUELES ARCHITECTURE: THE LINK BETWEEN THE OLD AND THE NEW Introduction: The Ranqueles were an important indigene culture that lived in an extended territory that included the actual provinces of La Pampa and San Luis in the centre of Argentine. In 1879, the president of the country sent a military force in the so-called “Conquer of the Desert`, with the idea of removing the native inhabitants of their own territory producing a historical slaughter of more than 15.000 Indians. This drastically and systematically reduced the original cultures making the survivors lose their belief, their construction style, their essence… their own identity. These cultures got used to living in poverty under the worst human conditions, all this due to the devastating effects of white settlement in natives’ territory. In spite of all these downfalls, it was the government of the province of San Luis the one which awoke an interest in rescuing the Ranqueles, its original inhabitants, and their culture returning them to their homeland, respecting their traditional life-style while inserting them into the contemporary times as well. 1. The Old: The Ranqueles were a nomad tribe that used to inhabit the deserts of the Argentinean pampas. They used to spend most of their time in the outside wandering from place to place within large extensions of the territory, living in transition places. This life-style was described as a state of IDEAL SOLITUDE. Their Indian villages, where they found shelter and protection, were built upon “toldos`, huts without lateral surrounding. Large pieces of leather joined in using leather stripes were used held up by “tacuara` canes. This simple architectural style of ephemeral buildings was known as “Rucas`. These “Rucas` had a simple functional structure with an important interior space called “casa de visitas`, which was inside divided by hanging pieces of leather generating other secondary spaces. 2. The New: Historically, the urbanization of the territory brings along progress, which means cities, dams, railroads and so on. Nowadays, the cities of the world provide access to services, communication and technology, in few words, to comfort and progress. The Ranquel tribes never experienced any of these. Their cultural area was kept from any progress sign. The UN has recognized the rights of citizens to have access to work, health, technology… progress. Contemporary Architecture opens up an access to progress, since one of its functions is to provide men with comfort and in a way grant them the rights declared by the UN. 3. The Link: In several occasions, Architecture has played the role of link between life and death in the Egiptian Culture, the Gods and the people in the Classical Cultures, and humans and nature in the Pre-Columbian Cultures. In so many other cases, Architecture has been the connection between the user and the corporation (religion, companies, the State, institutions). The overall purpose of this ambitious project was to “link` through Architecture the traditions of an old and forgotten culture, the Ranquel, adapting them to the comfort and technology of the contemporary times. The premise was to reconsider the primitive housing model, the Ruca; bearing in mind the natural surroundings, since the flora and the fauna are part of their ancestral cosmogony. An interior space was generated to recuperate the concept of “casa de visitas`. The lateral surroundings become the hut roof simulating the sloping line of the Indian huts. This shape favors their resistance to the strong winds and the reduction of the energy waste of the interior. The windows system is minimal and follows the described concept as well. The windows follow a composite pattern related to the geometrical designs characteristic of the culture: “Guardas`. Likewise, the large galleries appear like interfaces between the interior and the exterior protecting the place from the severe summer temperatures. The shape and slope of these galleries are reminiscences of spread horse leather used in the old Rucas. A number of nerves articulate this shape making reference to the canes, since etymologically Ranqueles means “hombre de las cañas`(man of the canes).Over the top of the construction, vertical elements emerge highlighting the presence of the villages in the flat landscape of the pampas. In the hospital, the gallery contour becomes part of the landscape simulating the dunes skyline. These native cultures were not used to verticality (so as not to be seen by the enemy).In this project, the water tank does acquire verticality in order to show presence in the plain land like a stronghold, a bastion. The water recipient adopts the shape of a rock which symbolizes the weight of this culture. The tank remains held up by canes in a state of precarious equilibrium, which still, bears and elevates the culture of the Ranqueles. Conclusion In this project, Architecture moves within the boundaries between the Old and the New. Architecture becomes a powerful tool to adapt the past to the future crystallizing it in the present. Architecture becomes into a weapon to rescue a culture that remained forgotten. And here lies the main challenge of Architecture: to design … not walls or boundaries to separate … but bridges to integrate and link the past with the future, the excluded with the included, the impossible with the probable.