This project was developed in the context of the exhibition Bridges and Borders that arises spontaneously after a collision with the building that housed it. The Ex-Padelai was an older orphanage occupied after abandonment and whose property was given to the city of Buenos Aires, who ordered a violent eviction a few years later. With expropriation and eviction judgments pending, the municipal government choose the easier solution was the cession of the building to the Spanish state for a period of 30 years. The full history can be read on the blog that was set up during our stay and that traces the memory of the developments in the Ex-Padelai.
Our exhibition space became an information office but this is only the visible part of a week with reunions with evicted persons, varied characters and local collectives/associations. We also relate this project to our experience in other countries, where we have proposed numerous agreements for the cession of publicly owned spaces. They are mechanisms that are clearly included in the law of citizen participation and, obviously, they look to the general interest of society.
Strategically, the agreement, drawn up in virtue of the Argentine and Spanish law compliance, became visible five minutes before the opening. Then the CCEBA team and the embassy discovered it. For easier understanding of it, we recovered the message "Arquitectura para Todos" (Architecture for all), used by the organizers in a previous session in which they used the “integrator“ message to extend it to the citizenship.
Our participation on cultural events is being characterized for funcionality of it, that it is directed by our formation as architects, but overall, for the political commitment that comes with it and we consider a fundamental part of our work.
The nuisance that I can feel due to the distorted and domesticated character of certain type of international cooperation policies, it lead to a project that we understood as the most reasonable thing to do. After several contacts with diverse active goups from the city, as well as, meetings with people directly involved with the conflict, it was possible to do the transfer agreement for some spaces of the building and its annexes. This allowed us to adapt it to different options of uses and interests proposed by groups that were claiming social and cutural activities, and also for the neighborhood.
We wrote five transfer agreements. In the meanwhile, the past came back, and when we returned to Spain, the Ex-Padelai was squatted again by the union occupants that was quicked out previously. This action generated the closure of the space to the public for one month, and that all the activities that were planned by the CCEBA got cancelled.
At the end, looks like our idea of claiming the space match casually in time, with the squatting that occured in it.