critical concrete's first summer program aims at reviving affordable housing in porto

critical concrete's first summer program aims at reviving affordable housing in porto

established in 2015 in berlin, critical concrete is a non-profit association that promotes a new model to revive socially-relevant spaces through educational programs. these include social housing configurations, cultural spaces as well as public spaces. in its first year, critical concrete organized a summer school tackling the overlooked social housing conditions in the city of porto, portugal.

work in progress in the garden



the city of porto suffered from dramatic population decrease since 1980, when approximately 100.000 (1) inhabitants moved away from the city center to the outskirts. while new construction was thriving in the metropolitis, the municipality identified 18.2% of all houses vacant in 2011 (2). although many were underutilized, there is also severe shortage of affordable options. with the recovering economy and booming tourism, porto has attracted much private investment and now, almost all downtown houses on sale target tourists, which drives up prices and makes it harder for long-term residents to find quality and affordable housing. to seize long-term residents and improve the quality of affordable living, critical concrete has organized practical and theoretical training programs for students and makers to refurbish houses for under-served communities.

work in progress in the living



critical concrete’s  intervention generates a flow of money for much needed building refurbishment in the otherwise stagnant social construction, while giving the participants practical experience in a working site. collaborating with the local municipality district, the organisation identified the pilot house back in april 2016. and recruited 40 international participants to take on this challenge. the whole team converted an occupied house that lacks basic living supplies such as running water and sanitary facilities into a functioning home with a living area, an insulated bedroom, water and electricity.

Students gathered for brainstorming



with its focus on sustainability and on the recycling of construction waste materials, the programme also fosters a participatory design — allowing the students to take part in the refurbishment from design to building. finally the 4th of September, critical concrete handed over the key to the resident sr. alfredo, who officially concluded its first affordable housing rehabilitation project through an educational programme.

students working after the theoretical lesson

the kitchen

the bedroom

the entrance

the backyard

The bathroom before and after students’ work

students gathered for the first theoretical lesson

work in progress in the living

work in progress in the entrance



designboom has received this project from our ‘DIY submissions‘ feature, where we welcome our readers to submit their own work for publication. see more project submissions from our readers here.


edited by: lea zeitoun | designboom

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