Self-made playground in Addis Ababa: the house of the Lost Children

More photos of the project
Pictures made by the orphanage’s children

Contex

In the gubernamental orphanage of Kibebe Tsehay, in Sidist Kilo, live children from 0 to 8 years old. There, these children study, sleep, eat, tidy up and play together.

The place has a large outdoor space with hardly any trees and wherein at some point there was some swings, practically unusable nowadays. Piled in a corner of the institution there are old cribs and beds, some parts of rusty swings and numerous shoes and clothes that no longer belong to anybody.

The metaphor of the Lost Children from the tale of James Matthew Barrie and the intention of creating a space for a minimal privacy that could enable the yard to perform recreational activities protected from the equatorial sun inspired this project.

 

Project

The project was completed in a record time of ten days including all stages, production, design and execution, thanks to the collaboration of a group of over 30 volunteers consisting in students of the Cervantes Institute, the University of Addis Ababa, Spanish aid workers and people who came through the call of a local radio.

After an exhaustive search of possible local resources to use in the project, it was decided to use some simple wooden pallets on which it was almost possible to recognize the tree branches with which they were made, scrap metal of the preexisting swings, and of beds and cribs that were stored in the space.

All these elements were implemented in a metal frame built with metal tube, a decision that guaranteed a minimum durability of the intervention in a place that rarely have the possibility to improve its space.

The intervention was completed with the installation of a deck built with advertising canvas donated by a local company, designed to extend or not according to the needs of each moment.

Some personal items left by former residents of the orphanage were painted in red and placed in the space in their memory.

The use of these low cost materials and the synchronization of all available resources, allowed to finish the intervention in the time and budget available.

The project culminated with the official opening of the intervention and a lecture at the School of Architecture in Addis Ababa.

Self-made playground in Maputo

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Context

Mafalala is one of the most populars neighborhoods of Maputo, Moçambique. Celebrities as the footbal player Eusebio (a.k.a. the Black Panter), Samora Machel (first president of the independent Moçambique) or the poes Noémia de Sousa and José Craveirinha grew up in this neighborhood.

During the foundation of Maputo (eighteenth century) native Mozambicans were forced to live beyond the city planned by the Portuguese settlers, giving to Mafalala an other outers neighborhood that very recognizable and informal aspect of one floor dwellings made from wood and iron sheet.

Nowadays the Iverca Association tries to spreed the history and values of Mafalala by promoting tourism and cultural activities, mainly the Mafalala Festival.

 

Project

Invited by the Spanish Embassy in Mozambique, Basurama participated in the Mafalala Festival of 2013, carrying out an open workshop for volunteers from diverse associations with the objective of building a playground in one of the schools of Mafalala, the Escola Unidade 23.

The school lacked any type of furniture that would allow to enjoy an outer space full of potentials, mainly a big tree in its courtyard.

Together with the participants, Basurama designed and built small elements made by cardtyres recovered around the neighborhood that were used to activate the smallets spaces. The perimetral wall was converted in a vertical garden made with plastic bottles and plants harvested in the streets close to the school. Finally, the courtyard was transformed in a big playground made with pallets donated by a local enterprise.

We think that this process of training of a community through the co-designing and co-building with local resources is a way is a way to generate autonomous processes and lasting transformation in time.

 

Interview made the day of the project’s openning. Video made by Maria Rusca.

 

Self-made playground in Malabo

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Context

A brief passage in the town of Malabo (capital of Guinea Equatorial) is enough to realize that its public is almost non-existent. Beyond the numerous bars of the city and their terraces token over the side walk, the street is a space of transition. Only a few places are used as public space even though they’ve bot been conceived such as.

Therefore and differently from other African towns, formal and informal usages of the public space are rare. As much the usages linked to private economic exploitation than the ones linked to rest, discussion, games and recreation.

It can’t be said about Malabo that exist there a culture of utilisation of public space (neither generically or as a characteristic of the city). This could be read and used as a generator of an intervention project in a vacant space of the town.
Project

On the occasion of the IIIrd edition of the Eco Carnaval, an event organized by the ICEF (Institut Culturel d’Expression Francaise, Cultural Institute of French Expression), the CCE (Cultural Center of Spain in Malabo) invited us to participate at the event. They proposed us to perform an intervention in the Chinese Neighborhood (Barrio Chino), a central part of the city near by the central market.

The first site visit wasn’t really encouraging: diverse cars parked across the central reservation of the place of intervention (some of them clearly abandoned), garbage covering the floor, lack of public lightning (lamp posts removed by invasive cars) and washing lines stretched between the trees ans the last lamp posts. This is compounded by uneven terrain and the impossibility for political reasons and absence of authorization to build in situ.

However some characteristics of the site appeared to be susceptible to generate an intervention which would give qualities of usage to the place. Those clothes we have seen hanging across the central reservation and the long of the walls actually indicated us that existed there somehow an utilisation of the space by the community. This was interesting to promote. Furthermore at the centre of the central reservation lies a big mango tree, providing shade to a large part of the site. The mango characterises the space and invited us to articulate our project around it.

Considering this informations we decided to carry out a project that would promote the uses identified locally and develop them around a new function: a children’s playground.

About the materials available, the CCE of Malabo had conducted a preliminary quest, collecting transport pallets of different sizes and plastic crates from a well known drinks brand. We had enough material, the problem was then assembling objects of such a variety of sizes.

The main problem we were faced to, in addition of the patchwork of materials, was being unable to work on the site except during the specific date of the Eco Carnaval. Confronted to this restrictions our strategy was generating quickly a system which could match itself to the materials available through forming an assorted ensemble. This way focusing our efforts on the durability of the project and an easy-adaptation to the uneven terrain.

We decided then to develop the project around regular hexagon (form already experimented during pasts Autoparque projects). Transforming slightly this figure generated the system adapting itself to materials. Thereby we had been able to produce independent modules (easier to transport from the construction site until the place of intervention) capable both to combined with each other and adapt the ground.

During the days following the design we built and transported the modules composing the project, using the pallets as resisting element where could children climb and adults sit, simultaneously providing shade and supports for small suspended garden in the plastic crates.

The second part of the invitation was the participation to the Eco Carnaval parade on the 15th of november 2014. We proposed to make a party from the transport of the ultimate module. Gathering all the families of CCE workers and spontaneously other persons (mostly children), we paraded carying our structure through Malabo streets. Finally we made out of the final montage a public event.

 

 

Autobarrios / Self Made Neighborhoods

THE PROJECT

Autobarrios – Self-made-neighborhoods- helps to create an iniciative for urban community development: it uses the collective construction of an urban imaginaire as a tool for empowering the community as a creative body.

Throughout creative practices, the enhancement of local resources and networking, strategies to practice more neighbours are created.

 

THE FRAMEWORK

The project reflects on the scale of the neighborhood and the current state of its essence, which, we understand, is based on relationships, daily life and identity and the common spaces that contain them.

Autobarrios is a contextual tool designed to grow in different neighborhoods taking into account their own particularities. It relies on outreach work and creative practices stimulates our collective imagination, our autonomy and our ability to deal with our daily networks and the surrounding environment ¡Reinvent your neighborhood!

 

THE TOOLS

esquema estrategias Dossier aB ING

> Applied Creativity

The project believes in applied creativity as a great tool for community development. The goal is not only to build something useful but activate the creative potential and catapult the imagination of the participants as citizens, builders and users.

> Revaluation of local resources

The project helps to create a network of people and resources that shape this initiative working together with their existing projects, becoming an excuse for strengthening them.

> Networking

Autobarrios is an example of city building shared between different professional areas and citizens. In this sense, one of the key project is coordinating a networking between all possible actors that can, from different areas, enrich and enable the smooth running of the project.

 esquema trabajo en red Dossier aB ING

REALIZED PROJECTS

Autobarrios SanCristobal
in process from January 2012.