The Tretzevents educational association in Catalonia, Spain, contacted Recetas Urbanas after liaising with several local architecture studios to help build two new classrooms for their primary and secondary schools.
Their project brief included a process of collaborative self-building, and before approaching Recetas Urbanas the association hadn't been able to find anyone to take on the project due to the lack of legal and technical support deemed necessary for the commission.
Recetas Urbanas responded by initiating a series of self-building workshops. Through the enthusiasm, energy and collective endeavour of local families, the two classrooms were eventually built. Over the summer holidays – the only time that the students, parents and teachers all had available – the community worked on processes of construction that enabled children, young people and adults to participate.
After three months the group completed eighty percent of the process. They faced uncertainties and unsupportive local authorities along the way, due to Spanish regulations and legal restrictions that challenge this form of self-built architecture. However the Tretzevents project ultimately exemplifies a safe, self-organised and creative mode of collective work. The educational and physical process of building the classrooms finally paid off, thanks to the group's will to work together to collectively complete the project.
Images: Tretzevents Self-building Workshop, 2013. 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.