Critical Concrete is an organization based in Oporto, which is developing a sustainable model for the rehabilitation of social housing through participatory and collaborative processes. The first action and experience was the organization of a Summer school 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.
Through a partnership with the parish council of Bonfim, Critical Concrete identified earlier a house within a social housing program in need of a deep transformation to improve basic living conditions.
This social housing configuration is a typical Ilha (island) house that emerged in the city of Porto in the late 19th century for the working class residents. Long and narrow, the house occupies an area of 37m² in addition to a small front yard, a terrace, and a 35m² backyard. Before the refurbishment, this house lacked of basic living conditions such as running water, insulation, and sanitary facilities.
In the three weeks summerschool, tutored by Colectivo Warehouse and Patrick Hubmann, it was intended to give a deep refurbishment to the house creating conditions for the participants to learn and experiment while doing it.
After the 3 weeks workshop, plus some extra energy from the organization, tutors and friends, Sr. Alfredo’s house was finished and the key returned to him. Now, the house has a living room, a kitchen, an insulated bedroom, one bathroom, running water, proper sewage and electricity. The hard work and creativity from the students, tutors, and friends contributed to the final results.
As tutors of a group with more then twenty participants from all over the world, Colectivo Warehouse teamed up with Patrick Hubmann to address two main issues.
The first one was to find a constructive solution that could be implemented in the 3 weeks Summer school providing the necessary improvement to enhance the living conditions.
The second issue was to assure that the inexperienced participants could manage to design and experiment new configurations and spaces for the house, with the certainty of being able to implement this constructive system by their own hands.
Francos Production Centre
The Francos production centre 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 centre 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 centre contains co-working 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 centre.
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 centre are going to occur in this space, which is located in the ground floor of the house.
The challenge for the participants was to rehabilitate two rooms with access to the courtyard.
Team: Warehouse + Patrick Hubmann + Samuel Kalika
Funding: Fundação Millenium, Junta de Freguesia do Bonfim, Critical Concrete Participants
Partners: Critical Concrete
With: Sebastião de Botton, Rúben Teodoro
Collaborators: Dante Guthrie, Darya kozova, Elisabeth Scheucher, Fernando Ferreira, Hana Elattar, Mariam Abdelrahman, Merna Rakha, Rana Radwan, Rebecca Wall,Rosa Thoneick, Sophia Garner,Stefanie Giese Philippa Schuurman, Marcello Corradi, Saskia De Fabritiis, David Zatloukal, Sonia Ralston, Francesca Rausa, Rita Almeida, Alexander Mehren, Filipa Ferreira, Mariano Cuofano, Dalila Gianpietro, Bryn Martin, Connor Arms, Barbara Arita, Luana Bergamo, Victoria Greenman, Julia Azevedo, João Oliveira, Patricia Jeglitsch, Juliana Trentin, Marylene San