Green Mountain (Montaña Verde) was proposed within the collective exhibition Experience Traps which is part of the Antwerp Baroque 2018 Festival. The Middelheim Museum and the Parks and Gardens area of the Antwerp City Council commission the design and realisation of a green sculpture that could involve the neighbourhood community or other entities in the process. Facing several proposed locations, Recipes Urbanas decided to act in De Coninckplein a decentralised and multicultural square, with more than 150 nationalities, which continues to be stigmatised as a violent place due to the consumption of alcohol and drugs.
During the five months before starting building, a fieldwork was carried out and a call was launched, which received 380 candidates.The project of the Green Mountain was finally made with a structure of laminated wood composed of different trusses that would support 40 boxes with different plants, herbs and flowers forming a multicoloured and aromatic carpet.
The construction was carried out in six weeks, the first two weeks the elements was prefabricated in the workshop and then assembled in the street. A permanent team of 5 people from Recipes Urbanas traveled to build it with the punctual help of 33 adult volunteers, 200 children and adolescents from 6 schools. This group of self-builders represented 11 nationalities as a whole.
Images: Green Mountain (Montaña Verde), 2019. Courtesy of Recetas Urbanas
Recetas Urbanas is a design and advocacy collective of architects, lawyers and social workers led by Spanish architect Santiago Cirugeda and Alice Attout, who joined in 2008. The collective is based in Seville, Spain and brings to life self-built projects that rely on local participation to realise mobile structures using locally sourced, second and third-hand materials. Their work activates different areas of urban reality globally, from creating temporary sites for community discussion with shipping containers and architectural prostheses, to implementing new social housing models in collaboration with local governments. These projects are highly functional yet legally provocative, often challenging the lawfulness surrounding the occupation of public space.Since its founding in 2003, Recetas Urbanas has worked internationally with over 2,500 individuals, hailing from different social backgrounds, abilities and ages.