Editorial Arquine

Collaborative tools
for community architecture




The way architecture is practised is changing, driven by a growing interest in collaborative projects and community practices. Thus, institutions and local governments in different countries are including more and more users in decision-making on the urban environment, and citizens themselves are increasingly demanding to exercise this right.

At the same time, an emerging generation of architects understands the figure of the architect as a facilitator and mediator, engaging with local communities and grassroots movements, responding to the everyday needs and problems of the city. Often organised in collectives, these practices defend the right to the city and spatial justice, environmental awareness and feminist demands. Rather than waiting for a public or private commission, these architects actively analyse and respond to existing needs. This process is giving rise to new professional roles, tools and project strategies, and new forms of collective decision-making.

This book analyses this change in the discipline, and is organised in two parts.

The first part of the book is presented as an instrumental taxonomy of new strategies and tactics that emerge in response to the new needs of the project. The 114 tools presented allow to analyse how traditional project methods are being adapted to cope with new project requirements and how new tools from other disciplines are being incorporated. Rather than working with a small number of case studies analysed in depth, the toolbox operates on the basis of multiplicity and complementarity, offering a panoramic view of many projects.

The disciplinary shift and the increasing development of collaborative practices must be seen in a broad context. Therefore, the toolbox traces relationships between projects that belong to different historical or geographical contexts, showing that seemingly unrelated projects share the same underlying architectural thinking, despite differing in context, objectives, budget or even project type. In this way, the toolbox makes visible a part of the history of architecture, the necessary collaboration, which is often hidden and has often been overlooked by the dominant narrative of architecture (the architectural work as a direct result of the will of an autonomous and individual creative mind).

Since urban transformations cannot be replicated as formal solutions, this book suggests that what can be replicated are the tools and strategies in a methodology that is open and adaptable to the social, political, economic and legislative context of different cities.

Among the many places where collaborative architecture is gaining importance, Barcelona stands out for the projects developed in the last decade and for the change in the way of understanding the city. The second part of the book shows how a different approach to the problem and new methods and processes are producing significantly different results.

The 20 works presented in this chapter demonstrate that the inclusion of the different agents in the decision-making process achieves a better response of the project to the needs for which it was built and that collaborative methods can be applied to projects of different scale and typology. The projects analysed achieve results that would have been unachievable either by municipalities or communities in isolation. At a very basic level, this refers to the viability of the project. From there, an impact develops at multiple levels: spatial and urban, social and associative, political and administrative, and even legislative, as these processes have shown a transformative impact on the implementation of policies, from municipal regulations to regional legislation.

In a reverse reading to the first part of the book that shows projects as examples of collaborative tools, this chapter is structured around works analysing how these tools have been used and what impact they have had on the development of the project, emphasising architecture as a process and the importance of the collaborative method.

The book has been financed by a crowdfunding campaign which, despite making it possible, did not reach its objectives. For this reason, by buying the book and writing to you collaborate in the financing of the project. Thank you!