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

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Pictures made by the orphanage’s children


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.



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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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.



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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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.

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.



“El Pati -Obert-”. Creative space for coexistence.

Process’s pictures here.

What’s about pedagogy in a process of urban’s transformation?

The great amount of empty and unused urban sites in the historic city centre of Lleida entails not only a urban and socioeconomic conflict but environmental, social and esthetic. Taking this situation as starting point, El Pati Obert’s will is to become an independent and transformative project beginning from the communitarian action, experimenting, correcting and coming up with a dialogue all along with local community.

University, City hall, neighbors and Basurama team built up a network of both, relationships and negotiations that spread into everyone implied. These relationships will make research possible through pedagogic tools that are developed and activated in a communitarian process as El Pati Obert.

Project’s driving force:
Facultad de Ciencias de la Educación de la Universidad de Lleida
Centre dArt la Panera
Solars Vius

Basurama made a number of trips to Lleida in 2004 to bring this action network:

First trip: March 4th to 6th.
Network creation. Establishing contact with different members of the neighborhood: citizens, collectives, institutions (formal and non formal education) and social agents. Once the contact has been settled a relational network will be launched to plan jointly site’s transformation. We will always keep in mind real, felt and expressed needs of the community as the basic objective of the project.

Second trip: May 5th to 9th.
Working with university students and neighbors.
A creative workshop in the urban site.
Compilation of intervention’s materials.

Third trip: June 17th to 29th.
Construction of urban site’s intervention.
Preproduction and open construction Workshops.

Forth trip: 16th to 21st.
Funding of the construction phase.
Dinamization phase.
Beginning of research’s drafting.

5th Trip. September
Dinamization phase.
Research for the essay.



BOCHUM FACTORY of LEISURE and CARE (BFPfW): How to become a Granny?

Participation in project “This is not Detroit”, by Schauspielhaus Bochum and Urbane Kunst Ruhr. Bochum, Germany 12th -21st June, 2014.

The project aims to reflect on the future of the industry, of the labor and of European cities. Artists from Poland, England and Spain (the countries where Opel factories are running) have been invited to propose projects

Basurama has propose the project Bochumer Freizeit und PflegeWerk ( BFPfW).

“Sit under the sun, abdicate and be your own king.” Fernando Pessoa.

Eric Hobsbawm used to claim that London Tube was the biggest luxury mankind ever had: no yacht, sports car, or jewelry can be compared to that collective effort. BFPfW is a proposal for enjoying and reflecting on how to manage our collective wealth, taking care of our common ground and of each other in the time when we are all becoming grannies.

Good old Europe, like in granny’s, is the only place where carework still means something: in the ruthless post-capitalist societies arising in emergent countries and in the nightmares we have when facing the future, we have to take care of each other, both as the ultimate and the indispensable way of keeping ourselves together.

Everyone is welcome to propose all kind uses for the BFPfW, and to enjoy it. Can we think of a collective relax, fun and meeting space we manage, where we set the cooperation rules and colonnise this spaces that the failure of capitalism leftover for our future?

BFPfW was a factory that produced hand-made deckchairs with reused publicity banners and converting chairs into rocking chairs, together with a tap water cocktails and, specially a huge terrain vague that went green with years of rain. We were taking pictures from above with the handmade aerial pictures kit develop by

During the two weeks of its public opening, the BFPfW produced around 100 deckchairs and 50 rocking chairs that were used to enjoy the biggest, good looking and wilder terrain vague in town. The idea of low-cost, human scale parks that include luxuries such as those deckchairs and the sauna nearby (A work by Modulor Beat). The idea of getting together, building together, enjoying what we have together. Regular, very different people swinged by, had a chat or a tap water cocktail, took a walk, build or not… A small project for those willing to get together and getting old quietly and with others.


Let’s get old, indeed. Let’s get old happily, together, taking care of each other. The song by the swedish band Lacrosse that inspired us for that motto, and the videoclip we staged as a tribute to them. Europe is growing older irremediably next century. There are other continents with vibrant young people who are taking over. We are all become grannies, so we must learn to get older with happiness.


We also invited ALAS and Stiftung Freizeit for doing a workshop with kids and white boxes.

and Entupunto to help us become a granny with her knitting workshops.

BASURAMA were also the CURATORS of the SPANISH PARTICIPATION in the This is not Detroit

The selected participans from Zaragoza where:

Undo Estudio – Asalto Festival.

Proyecto Esto no es un solar – Gravols di Monte Architects.

Festival Trayectos –Urban Dance Festival

A_Zofra – Metropolitan Observatory of Zaragoza.

Autobarrios SanCristobal / Self Made Neighborhoods

Autobarrios was launched in January 2012 in the Madrid suburb of San Cristóbal de los Ángeles. The goal of this project was not to create a new responsibility for the neighborhood but to join in to existing processes, becoming an excuse to consolidate them. After that, various neighborhood associations joined forces to create a platform that is now managing the Self-made-neighborhoods project.

This platform defined Autobarrios SanCristobal as a collective process of revival of an abandoned space, reinventing its function and use by building evocative urban space by and for neighborhood youth and other neighbours.

Since then, the project has followed a natural process based on the consolidation of trust between the different actors. The project has also focused on connecting local resources to encourage, define and make possible the main initiatives. Nowadays this process continues developing and enabling the managment and start-up of the urban space, whose construction was completed in May 2014, looking after the cultural and social activities programmed that allow the neighborhood to evolve and grow.

All the images of the project in the facebook of Autobarrios SanCristobal.






Strategies of community urban development initiative to dignify and transform an abandoned place in a useful space that respond to the needs of the residents

esquema procesograma bis Dossier aB ING


Autobarrios SanCristobal is an organic project that evolve in real time. In the construction phase, the available ressources delimit the design of the urban furniture, the associated uses and execution times. That way, interventions were guided by the available possibilities and were planned and executed independently.

The proposals drawn by the participants define a living space made of active uses, not defined only by the design of furniture but also by the following social and cultural production.

> Phase 1 = Refurbishment

+ Painting > revitalization of 1945 m2 surface: #colorfulsancris Part I (February 2013) y Part II (May 2013) developed with Boa Mistura. In collaboration with Productos Diez and Torremovil – Layher.

+ Floors > cleaning and adjustment of 2597 m2: #arreglandolapachamama (September 2013) in collaboration with Madrid City Hall.

> Phase 2 = Construction

+ Multiuse urban structure > revitalization of the northern area (1131 m2): #bricosancris Part II (November 2013) developed with Collectif Etc. In collaboration with Institut Français de Madrid, Matadero Madrid, Acciona and Renault.

+ Multiuse urban structure > revitalization of the southern area (726 m2): #bricosancris Part III (April 2014). In collaboration with Matadero Madrid, Acciona and Renault.

+ Floors > construction of a sheltered path of rain in the northwestern area: #bricosancris Part IV (May 2014). In collaboration with Bibliobuses Madrid, Acciona y Renault.

> Phase 3 = Finishing Touch

+ Electrical Connection / Wifi Connection

+ Equipment (signage, security, cleaning)


Public space is continuously constructed through social and cultural production that maintains a place alive and constantly evolving: in this context is inscribed the training of young neighborhood of San Cristobal in the sustainable management of local activation and space recovered. A technical and cultural training that allowed to consolidate processes that are already underway in the neighborhood and activate those that are not, making young people cultural managers in their own space.

The Cultural Management Course will work with young people, since June, cultural, technical and administrative autonomy to facilitate cultural experiences under the recovered bridge.



Young people are the protagonists of this project. They are the designers and builders of a public space that would be use by the whole district.

> Network of social partners and neighborhood of San Cristóbal de los Ángeles: Local associations and groups that are part of the Platform for Autobarrios initiatives that ensures the appropriate way to guide and monitor the entire process for integrating the project into the social tissue of the neighborhood.

Casa San Cristóbal-Fundación Montemadrid: social center open to the neighborhood, has a strong social and cultural programme. Collaborates and partially finances the project Autobarrios SanCristobal with La Casa Encendida of Fundación Especial CajaMadrid.

Educación Cultura y Solidaridad: Nonprofit Association. Working for social integration in the neighborhood, offering socio-cultural resources to children, youth, adults and families in the neighborhood.

Asociación de Vecinos La Unidad de San Cristóbal: created in 1978 and declared “public utility” in 1985, works on participation, promotion and management of various plans for the improvement of the neighborhood and the defense of the interests of the residents

> Partners: Professionals who collaborate to provide advice and a quality finished to the technic part of the project.

Boa Mistura: Collective of artists born in Madrid mainly involved in public space through urban art, having carried out projects in South Africa, Norway, Berlin or Brasil.

Collectif Etc: Group of French architects who build public space integrating local people in the creative process.

lacasinegra / Vermut / Nervio Films&Foto: Art collectives focused on the creation, management, research, reflection and cultural production through film making and audio-visual devices.

Obsoletos: research project, creation and distribution of creative transformation systems technological waste.

> Network of business partners from the industrial area of Villaverde:  Local companies – major players in the development of the District of Villaverde – who collaborate through their implication as professionals, giving tools or providing materials or unused stock that can be reused for shaping the space.


ProductosDIEZ S.A. Enamels and paints factory.


Torremovil de Layher Scaffolding systems company.

logo autobarrios


logo acciona


logo Renault

Bibliobus Comunidad de Madrid

logo Bibliobus Madrid


> Other Partners:

Institut Français de Madrid

logo IFM

Intermediae Matadero Madrid.

logo Intermediae



Casa San Cristóbal and La Casa Encendida – Fundación Montemadrid


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Project videos

RUS Miami. Miami Trash Machine

Using automobile waste and scrap cars as raw material, Basurama conducted an itinerant installation, called Miami Trash Machine (MTM). The MTM is at the same time an extrage object and an interactive sound system. Public was the protagonist in a ludic public event, were everyone was invited to participate. A set of lights, sound sources and sensors that temporarily colonized different parts of the city generating activity parameters and unregulated communication, while the question raised was: Is it possible to inhabit public space in Miami?

RUS Miami Map

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USW Jordan. Suf Refugee Camp

Project to improve the conditions of public space in the Refugee Campo of Suf in Jerash. During a week we worked involving the local community of Palestinian refugees to build a childrens playground and a shading area at the Woman´s Centre.

Project funded by Spanish Embassy in Jordan and AECID with the support of UNRWA

RUS Lima, Self-made Playground

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During the 20th century the urban model has been characterized by a progressive, when not massive, presence of cars in our cities. This generated extensive cities which final objective is to provide the maximum mobility for vehicles, leaving the pedestrians to a second place, even in the city centre. Lima is not an exception. An urban approach based on an indiscriminate and informal growth, with a lack public transport facilities. Public transport is therefore replaced by a massive informal transport (more than 500 lines), where pedestrians are a secondary element and public spaces became abandoned landscapes doomed to degradation.

The project Urban Solid Waste (USW) Lima focus on the recuperation of one of the most original and unusual places of the city, the electric elevated train, in its way through the Surquillo district.

This structure is probably one of the most surprising urban wastes you could find in the city; not only because of its shape and dimensions (9 meters wide concrete platform and several kilometres long) but because of its iconographic nature and symbolic characteristics in limeñan culture.

There has always been a big controversy around this infrastructure. The construction started in the eighties, during the first term of office of Alan García, as a solution for Lima’s public transport problems. Nonetheless “el Metropolitano” has only been a promise and has never been finished.

Beside the urgent need to think carefully about the public transport in Lima, this infrastructure demands an alternative use. For Basurma it is a potential public space, an elevated public park, a place to walk beyond the surface.

Reusing the abandoned electric railroad track Basurama invited the community members an local artist to participate in the creation of a new place, a public space for them. Almost all the amusement park was built up of recycled material such as tires and other car parts.