Students from the School of Architecture Present Proposals to Improve Accessibility of Housing in Bellvitge
Students from the UIC Barcelona School of Architecture presented a series of proposals at Bellvitge Cultural Centre to improve the accessibility of a number of buildings in the district of Bellvitge. The students have been working on this project over the course of the academic year as part of the Cooperation subject, which is taught by Sandra Bestraten and Emili Hormías. Mayor Núria Marín, District Councillor Antonio Bermudo, the Assistant Director of the School of Architecture, Marta Benages, and various municipal officers attended the presentation, which formed part of the activities to mark the 50th anniversary of the district of Bellvitge.
The aim of the event was to allow students to present residents with their proposals for improving 14 different buildings that pose a range of accessibility problems, primarily involving access. The students created models of each proposal to provide more insight into the solutions, and these will be exhibited during Bellvitge Festival in September. Some of the proposals will also be exhibited in the Architecture Institute of Catalonia (COAC) from this week as part of the Bellvitge 50 exhibition, which is curated by Sandra Bestraten and Emili Hormías themselves.
Mayor Núria Marín applauded the contributions made by the students and explained that when Bellvitge was constructed in the 1960s, “no one considered that a district needed public services or that buildings had to be accessible, much less sustainable. Now we have to rethink these buildings, identify the current needs of a number of apartment blocks that are not identical, but very similar, and define the best initiatives to incorporate full accessibility and energy-saving measures”.
The Bellvitge apartment blocks have some common characteristics that hinder the daily lives of people in terms of accessibility: the lifts stop between floors and residents have to climb a flight of stairs from the ground floor to reach the lift. The solutions involve providing lift access to every floor and from street level.
Marín explained, therefore, that the district council’s technical services team had been working for some time on “a project to comprehensively rehabilitate housing in Bellvitge, with special emphasis on accessibility and improving energy efficiency. We are working on this project in collaboration with companies and external professionals. Once we have analysed the different solutions available, including the proposals we have heard this afternoon, we will have to think about their sustainability, move them to the project stage and seek appropriate funding”.
The projects have been undertaken by second- and fourth-year students over the course of the academic year as part of the Cooperation and Accessibility subjects. These are compulsory subjects in the curriculum at the UIC Barcelona School of Architecture.