Conviviality Room (Aula de Convivencia) is a project born within the fight of a small group of mothers from the Public Nursery & Primary School "Europa" in Montequinto, Dos Hermanas, Seville, reclaiming a lunch room for the school. For eight years, children had been eating in the school library as an interim solution; but the library was so small that they had to do lunch shifts, the last taking place after 4:00pm in the afternoon. The library also thus couldn't be used as such, and books had to be kept elsewhere.
To address this situation, the mothers of the school set up the "Plataforma Pro-Comedor" (Lunch Room Proponents), in order to seek support and draw attention to the project, with the enduring support of the school headship, the AMPA [Alumni's mothers and fathers association] and the whole educational community. Thanks to this, they successfully generated greater awareness of the problem and, above all, emphasised the community's ability to take part in the solution by using and managing its own resources.
Since then, self-building and the recycling of the materials have achieved a lunch-room as well as a community ethos of teamwork and the importance of the public service system. The parents behind this initiative are thereby laying the foundations of the committed citizens they want their children to be in the future.
Furthermore, after several meetings, the Dos Hermanas City Council decided to sponsor the project by extending the new facility to a wider range of use, scheduling different activities apart from the lunch-time service, not only for the school but also for the neighbourhood. Some funds have been specifically allocated to self-building, making the project possible and sustainable. Step by step, the lunch-room project has become a social project able to involve the whole local community.
Images: Conviviality Room (Aula de Convivencia), 2017-2019. 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.