Since June 2015, Madrid has had a network of communal urban gardens in areas ceded by the Madrid City Council to neighbourhood associations, NGOs and other social agents.
They were unused spaces in the city, abandoned lots, etc. In some of them there were already groups of neighbours developing community garden projects without legal coverage. The City Council regularized these spaces and created the Network of Orchards, to which new orchards continue to be incorporated at the request of neighborhood associations.
The City Council grants the spaces with specific conditions of minimum equipment: a perimeter fence, a water intake box, a house to store the tools and recycled material, mainly planks and wooden slats, so that the users of the urban garden customize it according to their needs, building the equipment required for their activities.
This collaborative project between the European University and the Orchard Network aims to help improve the space of each orchard by designing and building the necessary equipment. The basic premises are the preferential use of recycled material in the orchards and that the equipment responds to the requests and needs of the users of each orchard.
Students and teachers of the subject Construction 3: Structure, 3rd Grade in Fundamentals of Architecture participated in the project. We started in September 2016, writing a contact email to the associations that are in charge of each of the Network’s orchards. We received 11 responses, with which we started working. We contacted all the associations, although for various reasons we discarded some orchards until we had 5 projects, of which only 4 were finally built.
The work began with meetings between the students and the users of each orchard, to detect their needs and limit the material available in each case. Based on this, the different designs were thought, which had to be approved by the clients, besides being possible, both for the materials used and for the constructive process and the auxiliary means to carry it out.
The designs were presented in class to detect possible errors on the part of the professors and from that moment onwards the construction phase began, alternating days “in situ” in the orchards with the prefabrication of more complex pieces in the materials laboratory of the European University.
Project developed in partnership with Irene Annoè, Daniel Alonso, Sebastian Salazar, Marco Pasariello, Gonzalo Sanchez and Paula Martinez
Video: Design and construction