Freeda Nature with a scale model of her vision for the Maro sugar cane factory / sur

An alternative vision for Maro

German architect ‘Freeda Nature’ presents her architectural project as part of the ongoing plans by Nerja and Maro residents to find an alternative to the golf course on the Vega de Maro

Jennie Rhodes
JENNIE RHODES

Ever since Nerja town hall first announced plans to turn the Vega de Maro fields into a tourist complex comprising a golf course, hotels and homes, many people living in and around the area have opposed it. There have been protests and alternative visions for the protected land which is currently designated as agricultural, where many families still farm fields that their ancestors once worked.

In recent years the area has also become popular among foreign residents, who have established cooperatives selling the organic produce they grow there and who call the area home.

One of these residents is a 37-year-old German permaculture architect and ecological engineer, who goes by the artistic name of Freeda Nature.

As part of an architecture course she is studying online in Germany, Freeda was tasked to provide a concept for the redesign of an old building and she chose the abandoned San Joaquín sugar cane factory in Maro, which sits on the land in question. “They said we could use any old house and I thought of the factory,” Freeda explained to SUR in English.

Freeda is now holding presentations of her architectural vision, which is based on her experience of living in an ecovillage in Germany as well as considering the local landscape and residents. The presentation will be given in English, Spanish and German and will show, with plans and to scale models, Freeda’s own vision for what the factory could be used for.

She admits that she hasn’t spoken to the town hall or landowners, the Larios family, through their property and land management business SALSA, but she says she already has the support of many people living in the area, who also believe in an alternative to the golf course and hotel plans.

“There are lots of options,” explained Freeda. She would like to see a cultural centre that is open to locals as well as a sustainable building and garden area, using the principles of permaculture, which she can bring from the ecovillage in Germany.

What is permaculture?

According to the website permaculture.co.uk, the concept of Permaculture provides “an innovative framework for creating sustainable ways of living.”

Permaculture philosophy, it goes on to say, is about “thinking carefully about the way we use our resources - food, energy, shelter and other material and non-material needs - it is possible to get much more out of life by using less. We can be more productive for less effort, reaping benefits for our environment and ourselves, for now and for generations to come.”

The first presentation took place on Sunday 17 and another will take place on Sunday 24 October from 11am until 2pm at the Arte con Subtítulos gallery and studio on Calle Primula in Nerja, near to the street market. The sessions are free and Freeda is on hand to answer any questions and explain her alternative vision for Maro.

For further information see the Facebook page Arte con Subtítulos gallery, studio and publicity agency.