«Home» – inside and out | «Home» – made by time – Eva Prats & Ricardo Flores’ conference – Saturday, 12 October 2019,16:00, UAUIM

«…a place to work out your problems without needing to see the doctor» (Joan, resident of apartment C 2o 3a, talking about the communal patio of the social housing project Building 111)

«Home» – inside and out

 

«…a place to work out your problems without needing to see the doctor»

(Joan, resident of apartment C 2o 3a, talking about the communal patio of the social housing project Building 111)  

 

‘Home’ is defined by what is around it as much as what it is inside. Since its establishment in 1998, our studio has focused on the research, design process, and construction of numerous projects that consider what it means to ‘be at home’, both in private and in the wider sequence of shared and public spaces that form social thresholds and communities. 

 

One such example is «Building 111», the new-build social housing project in Barcelona that, since its completion in 2012 has become a new home for 111 families or individuals. It is a case study for a design process that sought solutions to encourage interaction and challenge isolation, and for an ongoing post occupancy process that has used various methods to describe how its new community has developed. The social story of ‘Building 111’ has been captured through interviews, film, and other media. Much of the material has focused on the large central patio, where friends and acquaintances share their daily lives in a second circle of intimacy. It can feel as if it were a grand theatre whose stage is surrounded by boxes and galleries all facing inwards – a condition that residents have called the «Radio – Patio»: a platform for neighbors to call from one balcony to another and arrange informal meetings in the patio below. 

 

«Home» – made by time

 

«Home» achieved through familiarity, defined by experience over time, may allow us to reflect on adaptive reuse projects in which we have been involved, such us the new «Sala Beckett» International Drama Centre in Barcelona. 

 

The project is the renovation of a social landmark: the conversion of a former workers’ Cooperative that served the neighborhood where it sits for more than one hundred years. After closing its doors in 1980, it remained in the memories of those who live around it. The abandoned building was not listed, so the decision of preserving it or not was significant at the moment of the competition.  

We thought that what was still remaining contained the memories of the former Cooperative, so we decided not to demolish, accepting the ruin as a new starting point, a new life for the old building. It was a case of emotional heritage as much as physical heritage, and thus our efforts were to keep these memories inside the building. This is a design decision of major ideological importance, because for us the idea of patrimony does not come from pater, it cannot be imposed from above, but instead arises from time and experience, from what is radically collective.

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