La maison des services des Cartoneros
- by Lou Larrieu
Waste Picker : Person or group of persons who live/survive recovering « reusable and recyclable materials from what others have discarded as waste »
It’s a global phenomenon
They are 2% of people of the planet. The economics generated by this activity are however not exploited to improve the difficulties of daily life and social inclusion of «people of the shadows.» This informal network, based on formal economy, allows a reduction of almost 50% of the budget of waste’s collection for public authorities. This is a way to live (and survive), but under what conditions and with which rewards?
In Argentina, they are called « Cartoneros »
After the economic crisis of 2001, the «visible» explosion of that kind of activity obliges the government to recognize them as social actors. In Buenos Aires, from 8 p.m., the streets became full of garbage’s people; the informality becomes visible to the night’s hours. Rail axes play a major role in this established channel. The railway wasteland of the Palermo neighbourhood is ideally located between two strategic stops. Buenos Aires is a palimpsest city that hides behind each door a world. If we could offer them a place dedicated to Cartoneros and for Cartoneros, what would it look like?
A railway wasteland full of stories
Both physical and psychological barrier, state-owned, this land is slowly revitalized. On the same plot on the other hand, there ‘s a part of the brick viaduct, build in 1908, is no visible anymore. Can this place solve multiple problems as urban, heritage, societal ones?
Provide a place to Cartoneros
Studying the process, we had could notice that it could be divided into four working areas. They can transform and improve the linear circuit garbage to a circular economic and social system, where the Cartoneros would be recognized main actors. So how can we highlight a population usually rejected? Who, by its way of life, would appropriate and would value a forgotten part of town?
The project proposes to treat the theme of social services, a strategic point. It showcases the viaduct brick and architectural dialogue with the government building MINCYT through the Science’s Park. The project allows to be centered and focused on the specific needs of Cartoneros with the possible interactions between all actors, offering a wide variation of spaces of possibilities.
On the one hand, it includes a union house and a community restaurant. On the other hand, a specialized medical centre and a night nursery. The volumes will be organized to allow the establishment of separate programs, but remaining connected and permeable.
The project is organized in three thematic areas: on one side, the viaduct arches to host a series of one-off events, the other in the front park stands a technical band that hollows out, and it allows give rise to the middle portion of open space punctuated by exchange programs.
Different materiality express temporal and societal layers of the project: red brick dialogue with the blend of gray brick, concrete block, and raw concrete.
The official address will be an interface. A first draft of this new base claims recognition. Temporal linears then take place in the middle part, promoting a wide variation of possible spaces where the collective intelligence will be used.