Title: DIARY OF AN ARCHITECT
School: UNIVERSITY OF ALICANTE
Tutor: ENRIQUE NIETO
Why have I made this project?
Diary of an architect comes from a dissidence from the FCP model of producing architectures that analyze static presents to give as a final solution a delimited and finished architectural object.
Pretending to analyze or generate a particular context from which take action was losing entity on behalf of recording my own daily intervention on reality, always encouraged by a political responsibility. Only that could be my FCP.
What is it?
Diary of an architect operates as a manual of architectural insurrection.
The diary records, operates and intervenes on present conflicts and processes that I have registered and intervened over a year in Madrid, extracting from them successes and mistakes which may serve to reproduce and deploy, while they are always dynamic, imperfect and incomplete.
How have I made it?
Three parts record the three main lines of the project:
1. Contrageography: the construction of a cartography and a pictoric map of photographs that crystallize and describe the present reality of Madrid counterpower spaces related to housing problems.
2. Vestiario: zero cost domestication of 170 m2 industrial use that six people have reappropriated as living and cultural production space, adding as a Contrageography node.
3. Direct action: defending the housing rights through direct actions carried out with various assemblies / collectives pinpointed on the Contrageography.
A quarter part of the project records interactions and is oriented to the production of feedback and real testing.
The development of a Contrageography borns from the need of connecting different local nodes which are working in several dynamics of resistance facing the housing problem. Many of these nodes remained invisible outside its local context and it didn’t happen a smooth transmission of knowledge despite of having a common practice.
As an architect who also operates inside that network, following the detection of this problem, my role has been the intermediation, deploying my own tools for the intervention in the reading of the territory. The goal was not centralize but to enhance these hyperlocalisms: geolocate us to position ourselves on the map and visualize and consolidate a distributed network.
This Contrageography has been developed thanks to the networking of their own actants, resulting an ownership and involvement in the process of each node in an interest to locate them and locate the rest, producing a text document in group that could be editable at real-time (data, location…).
Then my work has been to map them, counterposing the map of public spaces regulated by the Town Hall, in an open and downloadable document. Generating the map itself serves as a tool for reading, interpreting and visibilizing interrelationships over the territory with a critical narrative, which legitimizes the preparation. The feedback generated from this open document verifies its usefulness in real life.
The domestication of an industrial space (V-estiario) emerges from the housing need of six people who seek to transgress the established model of housing. It was intended not only to operate as a domestic space but to add a new node of cultural, social and political production: a housing function is added to self-management of space by events born of self-interest or shared with other groups or communities.
All space actants are involved in domestication from their particular knowledges. My contribution has not been to resolve a housing problem as a given and finished solution. It has been to explore and record dynamics and processes of appropriation of space in a continuous testing in real life. The constant reconstruction of the space through photographs, texts and mappings of its elements do not only serve as a record of, but also as building of future presents, as a production methodology, to sum up, as a continuous testing of a way of building our own reality.
Besides intermediating through lacks of space using barters, donations and occasional purchases, also architectural intervention was necessary according to the traditional understanding of the term. We opted for the self-construction, which enables a collaborative learning process and empowerment. Construction manuals that have been generated serve as crystallization process. Thus, the produced information becomes a common resource for knowledge. It generates an open source architecture where these manuals are shared in affinity networks. The process is replicable but also reapropiable and modifiable.
The Vestiario record also serves as a testing and tool for the construction of new spaces related to a broader community with the transmission of our own experiences to new groups emerged in Madrid that have been reappropriated and implemented this housing model.
3. DIRECT ACTION
Participation in direct actions in defense of the housing rights with different assemblies and collectives is related with the actual operation on the territory. Also with the physical and social presence based on power structures which are everywhere, since they are provided by and produced everywhere. With active social participation in self-organizing processes as part of reappropriation of power.
The design and subsequent recording of daily strategies of resistance is also an effort to draw, record and produce socially useful knowledge about modes of political confrontation in the city in order to reach a common understanding of the territory we inhabit, to a shared reality where we can work together.
In most cases, this shared understanding of the territory has been orally transmitted at affinity circles: how to occupy a building aided by a support group, how to occupy a bank to encourage negotiation, how to make a ‘escrache’ … These actions can clearly operate with or without the graphic mapping of themselves, as this oral transmission has been internalizing the ways to make over the territory in similar communities (though often using descriptive tools such google maps, cadastral maps, sketches of area…)
The fact of working in various operations has meant that my contribution in strategic planning is to abstract those seated concepts in a symbology (types of spaces, flows, types of actions, roles …) for their use in own or exportable plannings. Not to be necessarily an architect to intervene on planning, but to provide an exportable tool in reading the territory, reappropriated verbally or in extended free use applications like Google Maps, to be replicated outside of local circles of affinity.