Collective Places


Barcelona, Spain Lacol

practical info

Studio: Lacol (Barcelona, Spain)
Video credits: Lacol / La Borda

visual material

general aspects

La Borda housing cooperative is a development self-organized by its users to access decent, non-speculative housing that places its use value in the center, through a collective ownership. The idea of ​​a housing cooperative was born in 2012 as a project of Can Batlló (Sants, Barcelona) driven by the community and cooperatives in the process to recover the industrial premises. The project is located on a public land for social housing, with a leasehold of 75 years.
Self-promotion and subsequent collective management implies that the participation of future users in the process (design, construction and use) is the most important and differential variable of the project, generating an opportunity to meet and project with them and their specific needs.
We looked for the lowest environmental impact possible, both in its construction and in use. Hence, CLT panels were chosen for the structure, and the building has no underground parking. It was also important to achieve climate comfort with minimum consumption, to reduce the overall costs and eliminate the possibility of energy poverty in the future. The best strategy was to reduce the demand of all the environmental vectors of the building (energy, water, materials and waste), especially at the energy level, where we prioritized passive strategies to achieve maximum use of existing resources.

about the category

La Borda wants to promote more community-friendly forms of coexistence that enhance interrelation between people, and makes visible and facilitates everyday domestic tasks. The building program proposes 28 units (of 40, 60 and 75m²) and several community spaces. La Borda has a communal kitchen of 80 m² to make large meals and acts as a meeting area, a multipurpose space covered of 100 m², two guestrooms, a laundry room, bicycle parking, and two outdoor terraces. All of them articulated around a central courtyard covered with a greenhouse. This becomes a large relationship space reminiscent of the "corralas", a typology of popular housing in central and southern parts of Spain.
These community spaces have a triple function. On the one hand, it provides meeting spaces for the relationship between users and to generate spaces between the public outdoor space and the most private space of the houses. We economize resources, since certain infrastructures are not multiplied by 28 homes but centralized, improving economic and environmental sustainability. At the same time, it allows to increase the surface that can be used by all the members, who are able to enjoy with the same total surface and the same cost of many more spaces than in a conventional development.
This premise opens up the possibility to redefine the collective housing program to adapt it to the life model imagined by future users. It breaks with the classic scheme of a building as a result of the sum of individual units, to understand it as a single shared house where the boundary between the private space and the community is blurred.