La Casa de la Lluvia (de ideas) -The brainstorming house or House of Raining (ideas)- is part of a social and physical self-building process, a cultural and community space in Santa Cecilia, a squatter neighbourhood in Bogotá (Colombia), located on the fringe of the hills. A place with limited material resources but invaluable ecological and human resources. It is evident that the ability of self-management in the city can transcend housing and basic services to include public and community spaces, and also its own citizens, who are in charge of cultural management, politics, social and infrastructure of their city. They can improve qualitatively to enrich their quality of life and to demonstrate their right to occupy the city.
As architects Colectivo Arquitectura Expandida described: In this project, the initiative came from the local community as they wanted a “community centre”, this is why its idea has been developed through a process of “physical and social construction of territory” to become the “House of Raining [ideas]”; an integral space, a multi-purpose room, which will host the first permanent cultural association of the neighbourhood: a community library already linked to the network of community libraries in the city of Bogotá.
The participatory design process, self-building and cultural activities have transcended the physical and spatial boundaries of architecture.
The strong cultural program has been constant and different actions have been consolidating the space, for example, the construction of a dry bath and a furniture for a library, incorporating community public spaces and some cultural principles in a Latin American city building, such as progressive income housing.
This experience gives us the opportunity to reflect on the tandem architecture/ culture, showing that, with proper and mixed processes, culture can be a device for spatial planning and architecture. This current project (already completed the physical construction) is emerging as a local cultural management station.
Two other factors also contributed to this project: technology and the cultural strategies, which tried to add civic value within the territory. We organised historical memory workshops of the neighbourhood, emotional mapping, a documentary journalism workshop about the history of the neighbourhood, reading text-context, workshop linked to habits and a DIY furniture workshop with leftover construction elements.
All pictures © Arquitectura Expandida.
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