Auto-construction: for an autonomy of housing

04/09/2018 admin 0
John F. C. Turner (*1927) is an English architect known for its engagement with the study and practice of self-construction. He was influenced by Patrick Geddes and anarchism, he studied in London's Architectural Association, and very soon developed an interpretation of planning and architecture that does not overlook the relationship with its users

Crossing the capital of culture: summer in Marseille

26/08/2016 admin 0
What happened with the Euromediterranée, an ambitious project that costed over 3,5 billion euros, and that transformed 480 hectars? Can we get rid of it by simply calling it gentrification? A commentary by two Italian planners, R. Marchini & A. Sotgia.

Same old story in Milan: The destruction of Isola

07/08/2016 admin 0
In crossing the Isola neighborhood in Milan, whoever knows Barcelona suffers a kind of déja vu. The same buildings, the same companies, the same destruction as in Poblenou in 2004. Nouvel is replaced by Boeri, and the Universal Forum of Cultures with the Expo 2015.

Horizontal anthropology in the margins of Barcelona

30/03/2015 admin 0
Stefano Portelli's La ciudad horizontal (Bellaterra, 2015), a research on Bon Pastor's 'casas baratas': a neighborhood where no serious fieldwork can be led without getting involved, without challenging the existing barriers, without revealing clearly the aims behind the research itself. In this case, those are to influence urban planning, to stop the demolition of the neighborhood, and to demand an active role for the residents in the transformations of their territories.

Heygate Was Home!

14/03/2015 admin 0
The Heygate Was Home Digital Archive collects the testimony of several former residents of Heygate, social housing estate in Elephant & Castle, London - they were in the wrong place at the wrong time.

Wastelands: Weizman on military urbanism

03/05/2013 admin 0
The spatial conflict over Palestine has re-articulated a certain principle: to be governed the territory must be constantly redesigned. This goes beyond a search for a stable and permanent “governable” colonial form, but rather points to the fact that it is through the constant transformation of space that this process of colonization has played out. Unpredictability and the appearance of anarchy are part of this violent logic of disorder.
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Peripheries of a colony: modernity as a challenge in Tetouan

24/04/2013 admin 0
Tetouan's Barrio Málaga

Immigrants from different places, spanish and moroccan, gathered in the neighborhood. […] About this part of Tetouan, we should write not a history but… a novel“. Mohamed Anakar, former resident of barrio Málaga.

Haussman and Cerdà’s modern urbanism was at its peak in Europe, when the Sultanate of Morocco fell under the military and economic pressures of France and Spain. So hispano-moroccan colonial cities grew as cities in an unlimited expansion; but at the margins of the m

edina and the “Ensanche” grid, popular neighborhoods developed, in which lower-class moroccan and spanish neighbors challenged the cultural and linguistic barriers, like a working-class dance in front of modernity. With El barrio Málaga video [link], and the exposition Tetuán desafíos de la modernidad [link] (recently opened in Casablanca) the interdisciplinary equipe of architect Alejandro MUCHADA proposes a post-colonial look on the hispano-moroccan city observed from its peripheries: where the lower classes  cohabited and created their own city, outside all plannings, and in an overflowing melting pot.

  • “Tetúanmodernchallenge” is a research of Gamuc.org group on the urban and social transformations during the 45 years of spanish occupation in the north of Morocco, through the lens of social housing: PDF of the expo presentet this april in Casablanca : presentation of the expo : Webpage Tetuán Modern Challenge
  • The word challenge refers to the moroccan historian Abdallah LAROUI, who used it to describe what modernity represented for pre-colonial moroccan society. See also Josep Lluís MATEO (2007) “El interventor y el caíd. La política colonial española frente a la justícia marroquí durante el protectorado” [PDF]
  • The historical critique allows us to identify what solutions were offered to this challenge in the field of housing. Architect Alfonso de Sierra Ochoa put forward a series of middle-scale projects, in which where involved Moroccans from Tetouan: through architecture, we can compare what modernity was imagined in that times, with the one Morocco has today.
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Istanbul, a city without limits. Documentary movie

15/11/2011 admin 0
"In Istanbul, we crossed the ecological limits, crossed the population limits, crossed the ecological limits. If you ask me where it is all going to lead, I will quote from Doğan Kuban: chaos" Mücella Yapıcı, chamber of architecture of Istanbul.
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To destroy and to construct: history of a factory

06/10/2011 admin 0
Friday october 7th, at 7.30pm, projection of Destruir y construir, video documentary about the factory of Can Ricart, in Barcelona's neighborhood of Poblenou. Can Ricart was a group of factories active in Barcelona since mid-19th century: in its construction had been involved important architects of catalan modernism. During the years of Barcelona's real estate euphoria (2000-2008), the City Council authorized the demolition of an important part of the premises, with no regard to the protests and the detailed studies who asked respect for the industrial heritage. Similar to what is happening in other parts of town, recently the administration admitted that it hasn't got enough money to build the "Museum of Languages" - the misterious, romantic and sustainable building that architect Benedetta Tagliabue was projecting for the part of Can Ricart spared from the demolitions.
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Two new books about Barcelona

02/05/2011 admin 0
These two freshly published books by Chiara Ingrosso provide new insights on Barcelona's urban and architectural history: the first analizes the city transformations from Franco's dictatorship to future urban plans; the second draws a route around four neighborhoods, Barceloneta, Poblenou, La Mina and Bon Pastor. Both of them are illustrated with Mario Spada photographies, and, as a whole, they show the catalan capital very different as how it is usually represented in Europe and in the whole world, underlining its several dark sides.
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A competition of ideas against the demolition of a popular neighborhood

22/01/2011 admin 0
During the years 2009 and 2011, some members of our research group helped in the organization of Repensar BonpastorInternational Competition of Ideas promoted by a group of architects and urbanists from Barcelona with the collaboration of the International Alliance of Inhabitants. After various years of fieldwork (2004, 2009) in Bon Pastor's casas baratas, and helped by the stable relationships we entailed with a series of families of residents, we reached a conclusion: that in spite of the media and institution constantly repeating how this neighborhood is in need of "renewal" (the word they use to say "demolition"), other solutions are possible, for this group of social houses, "red" and popular, built by Barcelona's City Council in 1929: it could be possible to preserve the historical and social peculiarity that this neighborhood represents for its residents and for all the city. Cultures, habitus, techniques and languages developed during decades by the inhabitants of the 784 casas baratas, and deeply rooted in this particular style of housing, will not survive after the demolition of the neighborhood. Even many of its inhabitants, since "modernity" arrived to the neighborhood under the form of demolitions, had to leave the neighborhood or suffered violent evictions.
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The dreams of architecture

03/12/2010 admin 0
"Secondigliano, Miano, Piscinola, all the northern periphery, and most of all Scampia, the youngest and most cursed neighborhood of Napols, have been covered with negative symbols, emblems of something dark and persistent, that by extension stains all the tens of thousands people that, in the peripheries, keep living a normal life". (Rossomando, 2007). For Scampia's "Le Vele", the enormous buildings erected in the 70s as a progressive and modernist project, and that now have become an internationally renown scenario of crime and marginality, the City Council is looking again for an architectural solution: to demolish or to preserve? The utopia is the "tabula rasa", i.e. solving social problems by tearing down and start again, or emptying and convert into a monument. "The complexity of places is poorly reduced to the choice between demolition and capitalization, both easy and spectacular solutions based on an attack on inhabitants' history" (Nocera 2010). Different are the utopias that follow all the people who struggle every day supporting the gypsies of Scampia's Rom community, the inhabitants of "Le Vele", the families suffering the consequences of so many years of corruption and crime. Will all this also end up into a "tabula rasa"?