Architecture Design Option Studio — Strategies of Conciliation: From neglected industrial typologies to a XXI century Social Condenser. (Carnicero/del Rio)

Mandatory lottery process
Required of: 

“Central to the idea of the social condenser is the premise that architecture has the ability to influence social behavior. The intention of the social condenser was to influence the design of public spaces, with a goal of breaking down perceived social hierarchies in an effort to create socially equitable spaces."  

The crisis of 2011 in the Spanish context affected the development of the city as a stage for augmented inequalities, changing the politics and protocols of public space and increasing social asymmetries, especially those of class, culture, and gender. The historical center of many cities, particularly the bigger capitals, was influenced by the new economies and growing tourism, often blurring the authenticity of the neighborhoods, displacing their inhabitants to more affordable places often in the outskirts of the city. 

In this new reality, the strategies associated with the design and production of architecture were inevitably influenced by a new context of scarcity. As a counterbalance to the more exuberant architectures developed in the previous period, strategies of reuse and a more sustainable sensibility increased consciousness towards the existing heritage. The lack of real estate in some cases and busting economies in others increased the need for repurposing what already exists, reinforcing strategies of adaptability, transformation, and reuse, therefore raising awareness of the behavior and evolution of architecture over time. A nascent material conscience emerged, finding in this new context of multiples urban complexities, opportunities to redefine materiality, aiming to empower local resources, addressing the economy of means, and the need for new identities. 

Reformulating public space to address questions of power, history, memory, gender, cultures, and race has become a task that connects architects with society more than ever before. There is an opportunity to understand architectural design as a tool to solve complexities and reconcile conflicts in the city that often affect our daily life. The public space has become a stage for both celebration and protest, for leisure and production, challenging the architectural responses that necessarily need to incorporate flexibility as a value. This studio will investigate an existing outdated construction as available matter and public space to be transformed and repurposed to change the social dynamics of a neighborhood located in the medieval tissue of Madrid. 


The studio will travel to Barcelona and Madrid March 24-March 29.