The cottage, the cell of the scattered habitat
The 10,000 cottages divided along the three Pas rivers in Cantabria have turned the Pas Cottage into an iconic symbol of the valleys.
It is a simple building, constructed for cattle farming. The most common types are built between 18th and 19th centuries. This building has a rectangular floor of 11 metres of length and 6.80 metres wide, built on stones with rustic doors on wooden frames, small windows and a facade of folding doors on the shorter wall, perpendicular to the balcony.
The structure support system is simple, but aesthetic. It involves wooden pillars resting on sills and topped by a wooden pad that supports two big longitudinal beams, a “petral” in the ground floor and the main beam in the “payo”, with a wooden balcony between floors. On the main beam are the planks of wood that support the roof. Exterior access is done by a stone staircase resting on the containment wall of the facade, with a small niche. This stairs ending on a wide landing, named “patín”.
Internal division and the “vividora” cottage:
The cottage has a basic interior division, with a first floor used as a hayloft and the ground floor as stable. The stable has stalls slotted on to the “gateras” or lateral walls, made of wide oak wood planks, on which holes are open to add the “peales” with which the farmer can “prender” or tie the cows.
It is known as “vividora” the cottage that has some additional comforts, if those are for a residential, prolonged usage in the lower parts of the hills. Its internal division is the most basic. The first floor has a paved area, to avoid fires, where the fireplace is a wooden arm inserted in the wall from which pots and pans are suspended above the fire. The resting space is dedicated to rooms separated by a rudimentary wooden plank, mainly with beds made out of dried grass. There is a “payota” or attic for tools storage.