PublisherThe University of Arizona.
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AbstractThe following capstone project is a community co-op focused on self-sufficiency, in which members grow their own food and fabricate their own products to support themselves and to sell to the community. All waste produced on-site is recycled – solid waste is separated by material to be reused, repurposed, or recycled, and liquid / food waste is sent to an anaerobic digestor to produce energy and fertilizer for an on-site farm network. This co-op is located in the Provençals del Poblenou neighborhood of Barcelona, the former epicenter of Barcelona’s Industrial Revolution (known as the “Manchester of Catalunya”). This area has a long history of industrial co-ops where members could share equipment for collective benefit. Today, the city is trying to develop the neighborhood into a “Technological Innovation District” known as 22@. Unfortunately, the majority of construction following this initiative has done little more than gentrify the community and destroy the historic factories. As an alternative to the aggressive development practices of 22@, this project embraces Provençals’ history and traditions, proposing a return to a circular economy model where daily food and material needs are handled through local collaborative effort and waste from any one resource flow becomes the raw input for another. Through education, the community is empowered to participate in all steps of the production cycle. For instance, the Provençals community can visit the market to buy fresh produce and locally-made products, or stop by the workshop or kitchen to take part in classes and activities geared towards teaching self-sufficient practices. Altra Volta is built upon the remains of historic factories and consists of two parts – the conversion of still-standing warehouses (into workshops, kitchens, a daycare, cooperative housing, and waste-processing facilities), and the reuse of historic factory foundations for the central marketplace. Within the footprint of demolished factories, the form of the market follows the typical structure of Catalan textile factories – a grid of columns supporting arches and Catalan vaults with skylights for natural light and ventilation. Beyond these historic footprints, the vaults take on the form of minimal surfaces to create a gradient buffer with the garden and orchard ecosystem that envelops the project. At the moment where old warehouse meets new construction, a series of elevated classrooms and fabrication spaces offer views to all activity happening below. On a broad scale, this site is at the crossroads of major roads from Barcelona’s epochs, from the Roman road of Pere IV to Avinguda Diagonal, the primary thoroughfare of the Eixample. Therefore, the project utilizes the empty land between blocks to create a “passeig nou” (new promenade) where the community can stroll and relax beneath orchard groves and observe the self-sufficient ecosystem all around them created by Altra Volta.