El Nodo/ Latren

Participatory Cultural Center in Saltillo, Mexico

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The node is a cultural center of production that is generated, self-constructed and organized as a mediating element between disintegrated, disengaged or marginalized neighborhoods in the city of Saltillo, in the Mexican state of Coahuila. It proposes a different model for public facilities, different from the traditional institutional cultural centers: it operates as a participatory center and is open to direct proposals from citizens.

Open, make it permeable

It is designed collectively from workshops. It is made up of the recycling of pre-existing buildings, spaces and materials. It is built with, assembled and DIY activities that generate new covered work areas and open skating/play ones. It proposes an architecturally open and a socially permeable and integrating element, capable of invigorating the cultural life of the surrounding neighborhoods and of the entire city, and promoting synergies and collaborations between citizens and neighborhoods.

The initiative wants to promote network and support to people who are carrying out similar projects in different parts of the national or international territory. It is about cultivating a space -mental and physical- for the people of Saltillo to build it in a sort of appropriation process.

It is important to point out that the different stages of definition and implementation processes are developed in the form of workshops, thus leaving a residue of knowledge that empowers the citizenry in view of the subsequent development of this and other projects. So far, workshops on urban art, audiovisual documentation, guerrilla advertising and self-constructions have been carried out. In the same way, the office for the development of the project has been opened to students and professionals to be integrated into it, having been several people and groups that have responded to the call.

The center is developed in such a way, that in the works of construction and cultural production, individuals and groups are the protagonists. It is a place of production more than a place of exhibition. A platform from which training and creativity programs emerge based on the concerns of neighbors and citizens involved, thus promoting a sense of belonging and citizenship.

In June 2010, the master plan was defined and the first phase of the center was planned. The management is carried out by Saltillo collectives, and the whole process is consulted by several experts.

During the months of November and December 2010, the first self-construction workshop was developed. People of diverse backgrounds participated in the workshop; from members of the neighborhoods located around the city center, to local adolescents, students and young professionals. Local professionals assisted in the more complex and risky tasks.

It was expected that both groups of individuals and institutions would be involved in the program, to help the project to be extended in the next phases.

June 2010
Architectural Design> Ctrl + Z and Straddle3 Fixed equipment> Fernando Carrera, elNodo (Management) + Jaime Fernández, lamatraKa (Cultural Management) + Gianluca Stasi, Ctrl + Z (Architecture). Temporary team> Manuel Rodríguez (May, Urbanism) + David Juárez, Straddle3 (June and November, Architecture) + Jordi Granada, Straddle3 (Structures) + Michele Pecoraro, NoSoloPaja (November, self-construction) + The Panda (social mediator) + Eduardo Vázquez and Santiago Cirugeda (external consultancy) + students * and local collectives *. * Students> Raymundo Balderas, Gabriela Dávila, Esgar Vasquez, Fernanda Zetina (architecture); Gonzalo Estrada, Daniel Osvaldo, Gamaliel Rivera, Daniel Rodriguez (design and audiovisual) * Local Collectives> Talía Barredo (La caballeriza), Lyj Gonzalez (Saltillo Action), José Elizalde (Edufilm), Miguel Servin (Edux Arte y Sida), Colectivo Estación Cultural, Egeo Cisneros, Jessica Cerna, Bernardo Linares, Luis Mendive.
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