Arquitectos de Cabecera (AC) is a methodology born out of an academic project at ETSAB. Working on the city, focusing on collective housing, the methodology aims to bring closer the figure of the architect to the citizen. It does so by addressing their needs and demonstrating the architect’s utility in society, in the midst of an economic and social crisis.

AC is the result of architecture students questioning the university teaching model, whilst also addressing the following shortcomings:

In academia, there is a lack of contact with reality and its challenges. In the social context, there is a general housing emergency. In the profession, there is a crisis within the practice of architecture.

In response, we aim to empower students and to act on the existing city as a field of work. Through multidisciplinary teams, and in direct collaboration with other entities of the neighborhoods, the approach to the collective housing focuses on the subject instead of the object. It acts on the housing in order to transform the city from the inside out.

The AC methodology aims to be exportable to other universities and administrations as an open source tool.

Two actions take place in order to put the AC methodology into practice: the setting up of the Citizen Attention Office, on the street level. And getting into contact with the entities and associations that already work within the neighborhood. These two actions allow us to be visible and engage the case studies.

At the 2015 exhibition of ‘Piso Piloto’, the Citizen Attention Office was first set up. It bore out of the debate tackling the ‘right to the housing’ and ‘right to the city’. It took the Raval of Barcelona as a field of work. At the office, five case studies of different scales and conditions were engaged: from the dwelling, to the factory-house, and from the rental to the occupation.

The neighbours opened their doors to the students. The protocol then started with taking the cartography of a person and their habitation: everything that happens inside the house, activities and objects; and the relation of the user with their neighbourhood, through their routes and habits.

It then continues with a diagnosis based on the gathered data, identifying the inhabitant’s needs and its ability to implement the proposal.

It concludes with a project that consists of a strategy, in the form of a roadmap, with the actions to be implemented.

Link to article in QUADERNS #266 (in english)