Infrastructures of Resistance

Infrastructures of Resistance
© Xavier Ribas. No Title. Series: "Sundays" (1994-1997)
A search for a new housing institution

self-office
Barcelona, Spain
Website
http://www.self-office.net
Instagram
https://www.instagram.com/self.office/
Team members
Eduard Fernàndez
Laura Solsona
Field of work
Architecture, Design, Research
Project category
Awareness–raising
Project submitted
2022

self-office is a small practice that operates between architecture, landscape, and academia. Driven by specific themes and passing fascinations, the office aims to challenge disciplinary conventions to explore alternative realities beyond those driven by the market. Thus, we use space, objects, words, and images as research tools to produce architectural discourse. The office was founded in 2021 by Laura Solsona and Eduard Fernàndez.


From 1970 most neo-liberal governments turned firmly against public housing since it started to be seen as a non-profitable and poor financial investment within the new global market. Eventually, most of the post-war social estates built in the previous decades were politically marginalized and reduced.

Today, most systems that give form to modern citizenship no longer serve the interests of most urban populations. The wealthy elite excerpt immense influence on the political process, compromising the sovereignty of nation-states, unable to legislate or regulate multinational corporations. As a result, housing is predominantly understood as an economic asset relying on the real estate market.

This wasn’t inevitable, it was ideological. Ownership societies are a political project.

The need to explore alternative forms of ownership that question hegemonic housing models based on individual property is inherently architectural. Therefore, we claim that a new housing institution needs to be defined to give birth to new ideas of autonomy and emancipation — an act of political resistance.

In response, this research turns to the periphery to investigate the opportunities to collectivize housing estates that present poor conditions of living or maintenance. From suburban blocks to row houses, and residential towers, most of these buildings have the potential to host new self-managed collectivities, independent from market logics. The architecture of this institution translates into a series of infrastructural objects, artefacts, attachments, additions, alterations, etc. that take form through lightweight structures, renewable materials, and the invisible forces of community participation and public institutions.

Hence, this investigation aims to speculate around new ways of living together, discuss different approaches to the way we need to build (or not) in our cities and explore new aesthetics and collective desires in response to contemporary needs.