RCA & Barcelona en Comú: Research Partnership Launch

24 October 2017 | 6pm – 8pm


Darwin Building, 6th Floor, Room 612. 

The Architecture and Social Movements Research at the Royal College of Art announces a new partnership with Barcelona en Comú.

The Architecture and Social Movements research examines the practical, conceptual and disciplinary questions that social movements present to architecture and urban design. This research aims to develop new collaborations between architecture and social movements and to explore how new approaches to design might emerge from the demands of social movements.

The partnership with Barcelona en Comú (Barcelona in Common) is key to this research. Barcelona en Comú is a citizen platform formed in 2014. Several of its members came from social movements such as the 15M or Platform for People Affected by their Mortgages (PAH). In 2015, the platform’s mayoral candidate Ada Colau won the elections for the Municipality of Barcelona. Its policy agenda includes defending social justice and community rights, promoting participatory democracy, introducing mechanisms to tackle corruption, and developing a new model of tourism for Barcelona.

In coordination with the Social Innovation Team at the Municipality of Barcelona, the RCA will develop several research initiatives on collective equipment as mechanisms of care and empowerment.

The design of collective equipment such as urban schools, health-care or community centres was central to Modern Town Planning. However, since then, no systematic research on collective equipment has been carried out. Knowledge on the potential for alternative management protocols beyond the state that not that of privatization is lacking. Equally there is a gap in research on the relation between equipment and the city at large, beyond the specificity of the service being provided. Barcelona is developing new policies that require the adaptation of current equipments, in terms of moving away from mono-functional uses and being able to take more advantage of the positive effects of proximity and community projects.

The collaboration is a seed for multiple projects. The first moment of collaboration will consist of an academic partnership with ADS7 studio, at the MA Architecture, which starting in the academic year 2017-2018 will be exploring new solutions for multifunctional collective equipment in Barcelona. Following from that RCA and BeC will co-develop research on the role of collective equipment as spaces of urban empowerment.

The launch event will take place on the 24 October, from 6–8pm, and will feature an introduction byDr. Godofredo Pereira (RCA) and a presentation by Tonet Font (Barcelona en Comú). These will be followed by a conversation with the audience.

For further information about the event, please contact