In late 2009, the organisers of the Creative Cities Congress in Cáceres invited us to organise a participative workshop on interventions in public space. In the course of our meetings with the organizers throughout September, we gradually shifted from the idea of a theoretical workshop to the proposal to design and self-construct a portable facility based on recycled materials, and organize a series of activities in parallel to the congress that would also be able to test the prototype, which it we all agreed to baptise Cacharro 2.0. In the end, it was made up out of second-hand transport containers, joined together by a structure manufactured using material recovered from some road railings, which the Public Works Department had replaced in order to adapt them to road safety, and some profiles from the dismantling of a silo in a town near Cáceres. This structure was covered by a plastic canvas, and the floor was paved with formwork boards. The system was complemented by some basic fittings, and sought a balance between the features it offers and ease of assembly.
The use of containers means that it becomes unnecessary to use anchorage, and provides secure spaces for storage. Obviously, it requires some effort to set up: from two to three days to assemble, depending on the size of the team, and one day to dismantle and store. This means that the optimum period of use for a set-up are events that run for several days, such as film, music or performing arts festivals, neighborhood fiestas, thematic conferences, seminars, congresses, and so on. They can also be conceived as workshops for trades, auditoriums or temporary exhibition galleries for areas that don't have them, or as a means for revitalizing public spaces that are underused or in development stage.
The event offered an excuse to deepen the spirit of collaboration that we have been experiencing from the Collective Architectures network. We organized a series of meetings open to local collectives around the possibilities for the use and management of the prototype in the period following the Congress, with the support of the Town Council and the candidature to the Cultural Capital. A team made up of the members of straddle3, Recetas Urbanas and aSILO took charge of the design, collection of materials and participative construction of the prototype. Hackitectura, ColoCo, Re-farm the City and Esto no es un Solar joined the activities held during the Congress, which consisted of a WikiPlaza conference, workshops, presentations, and even a the staging of a play. All of this proved that the protogype offers good features and the system pacted with the City Council allows the people of Cáceres to use the equipment with a reasonalbe effort and a laughable economic cost. Now the challenge is for local associations to make it their own and throw themselves into proposing sites and events for its use. In order to favour this, we have drafted a manual of instructions for assembly.
Conference website, on the prototype>>
Conference website, on the WikiPlaza event>>