Architecture and prefiguration: the Factory of Atucucho

Research output: Contribution to conferencePaper


In the urban peripheries of Latin America, the assembling of basic material platforms for the reproduction of everyday life, has become a defining political practice. Increasingly, the normative and prescriptive dimensions associated with urban citizenship are being replaced by a more intermittent, conflictive and unstable set of power arrangements. These relations are constantly mediated by the community’s capacity to build, sustain and transform their living surroundings. Construction has become, not merely a technical skill, but a means of facilitating the appearance and circulation in urban space. In this context, a new type of architectural intervention emerges: one that entangles issues of community organization, redistribution and non-commodified construction practices, with design tactics, alternative spatial programs and aesthetics. In this presentation I want to explore these sets of interventions through the lens of prefiguration. Prefigurative architectures seek to disrupt exiting socio-economic structures through the construction of new infrastructural networks. They anticipate and project, through archetypical interventions, the possibility of ‘other’ territorialities. The paper focuses on a research project in Atucucho, a poor settlement on the slopes of Pichincha, in the North of Quito (Ecuador). Framed around action research methodologies, the intervention brought together the local autonomous government, a youth organization, an award winning social architecture practice from Quito (Al Borde) and a research group from the University of Manchester (Material Politics) to build a popular factory of reclaimed building materials. The presentation examines how the recuperation of discarded concrete cylinders, serves to prefigure a different logic of organising processes of construction in urban peripheries.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jul 2016
EventPostcolonial urbanism - Cotonificio, Auditorium, Venice, Italy
Duration: 22 Dec 2016 → …


ConferencePostcolonial urbanism
Period22/12/16 → …


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