The Barcelona City Council’s firm commitment to more flexible, efficient, and participatory housing models has been translated, in part, with the two exhibitions, currently open to the public, which allows visitors to discover two innovative and revolutionary ways of conceiving housing.
The city’s second APROP industrialized housing block in Glòries, with 42 floors and a capacity for 100 people, was recently completed in a record time of 26 weeks. And precisely, the first floor of this building (C. Irena Sendler, 22) hosts, since December 16, an exhibition on industrialized construction that can be visited every Friday from 9 am to 2 pm and from 3 pm to 6 pm. Access to the exhibition is free of charge and no registration is required.
Until now, the industrialized construction exhibition shared space in Glòries with the cohousing exhibition, which has moved to a different location. For all those interested in knowing the identity features of this alternative model of living in a community, the exhibition on co-housing can be visited at the headquarters of the Ateneu Cooperatiu de Barcelona (Coòpolis), at C. Constitució, 19, from Monday to Friday from 9 am to 7 pm.
Industrialised construction, a settled bet
The stage set to host the exhibition on industrialised construction already shows the Barcelona City Council’s commitment to more efficient, fast, and environmentally friendly construction processes. Provisional Proximity Housing Units (APROP), made from reused shipping containers, is one of the most widespread formulas in the city. Currently, counting those in Glòries (the exhibition venue), there are 64 APROP housing units in the city, which is an effective solution for people in emergency housing situations.
In addition to confirming, with figures and concrete examples, the City Council’s plan to extend the city’s public park through industrialised solutions, the exhibition also shows the many advantages of using these construction processes: safer, as they are carried out in workshops; more agile in time, as the design is standardized and production is automated; more ecological, as they generate less waste and emissions; and more collaborative, as they incorporate industrialists from the beginning of the design process.
The exhibition also includes a model that explains the construction process of a building erected using industrialised methods, highlighting the four main objectives of this model: speed of execution, shortening construction and delivery times by at least 30%; flexibility, in that it admits different types of living and coexistence over time; innovation and cooperation between local companies, which generate, for example, the emergence of new structural systems such as cross-laminated timber panels and aluminum profiles; and sustainability of the construction process, where only the choice of more sustainable materials and systems reduces CO2 emissions by 30%.
Collective and community cohousing
The Coòpolis exhibition, meanwhile, will show the benefits of one of the models that have taken root in the city in recent years, and which has numerous advantages over the more classic and common housing models. Cooperative housing in the cession of use, or cohousing, has spread throughout the city with 19 projects, or in other words, more than 400 dwellings created with this format.
As one of its core principles, cohousing promotes community living and mutual support, with housing that helps combat loneliness and individualism. They often also have a positive impact on neighborhoods, as they allocate commercial premises to neighborhood initiatives or social apartments to more vulnerable people. In addition, ethical financing marks a process of self-promotion that allows the final price to be reduced and in which the economy that is generated is reinvested in the social and solidarity economy. This, together with the support of the administration, makes it possible to reduce the initial contribution made by the neighbors by around 50%.
In addition, the collective ownership of its buildings helps to fight speculation and makes it impossible to generate capital gains or individual profit. Members can make indefinite use of their housing and community spaces, and if they leave the cooperative, they recover the initial capital contribution.