Critical Concrete is an organization based in Oporto which is developing a sustainable model for the rehabilitation of social housing focused on participatory and collaborative processes. The first action and experience was the organization of a Summerschool with a 3 weeks program. This was an hybrid program composed of a strong practical component complemented with lectures with the presentation of projects in the social, artistic, cultural and sustainable fields of architecture and art.
Francos Production Centre
The Francos production center was created to promote the production of artistic, cultural and collaborative projects. The organizing team searches for a real impact in the emerging landscape of rehabilitation processes in the ilhas of Oporto. The project aim is to test a model of urban rehabilitation. One of the objectives is to rebuild social housing through artistic and cultural initiatives using sustainable resources and social entrepreneurship.
To achieve the objective of a long-term plan, it became clear to critical concrete’s team that the creation of a production center was fundamental. Suitable spatial conditions and sustainable management is the key to enable the development of future activities. This new space is dedicated to the development of a creative hub with a strong connection with the local community. In addition to the workshop equipped with tools and machines, the production center contains coworking spaces for creative minds, architects and cultural agents working in similar fields of action. The team of critical concrete also intends to collaborate with local associations and create open popular events such as screening sessions, dances and markets bringing critical content to the center.
Warehouse intervention focused on the creation of a multifunctional space inside the house shared between two rooms. Future cultural, artistic and social activities of the production center are going to occur in this space, which is located in the ground floor of the house. The challenge for the participants who chose this area was to rehabilitate two rooms with access to the courtyard.
In the first week we formed a multicultural team of 12 participants that quickly learned to work together. There was great interaction between all in the development of the project and sharing knowledge. A critic approach led to several ideas so the choices were made in consensus through the development of the project. The beginning of the project focused on the creation and discussion of ideas for the rehabilitation of the pavement, an increase for functionality and relationship with the outside and several small-scale improvements that contributed to a harmonious final result. Several days of demolition passed by until we could see the first ideas in place!
In the second week, after the removal of the rubble resulting from the demolition works, the team divided into multiple fronts of action. We started with the repair and replacement of the structural beams and floor planks of wood, which were decomposed by termites. For this task we used a Japanese technique Shou Sugi Ban consisting of burning wood as treatment.
At the same time and with the same method of treatment, pinewood boards were fixed on walls in order to create the necessary support for the setting of plywood panels as inner lining of the room.
The wood presenting good conditions was sanded in order to restore its original appearance. The reconstruction of the wood flooring included the building of trapdoors that organize various storage spaces. This system enhances the required multifunctionality of the space. This way the room can be large and empty when it’s needed for events. The furniture was designed to be compatible with this storage system. We developed stools with different dimensions allowing an assembling scheme like in matrioska, the russian doll.
The third and final week was dedicated for the completion of the ongoing work. In the workshop we finished the furniture production with all the details. In the rooms the final result started to appear with the completion of the reconstruction of the floor and total coating of the walls. Finally we began with the paintwork of walls, frames and shutters of wood. This project resulted in a multifunctional space renovated, nice for future activities due to increased brightness, homogeneity and spatial organization.