MAS Context Spring Talks 2021
Cooperative Ecosystems


Architect and educator Cristina Gamboa of Barcelona-based Lacol lectured on February 25, 2021 as part of MAS Context’s 2021 Spring Talks series.


Cooperative Ecosystems


The recognition of key moments of the collective history of Barcelona is essential to understand the current growth of the cooperative movement and the social and solidarity economy. Nowadays, networks of infrastructures (production, energy, culture, housing, care, economy…) have challenged the pre-established protocols of urban transformation, starting with the role of the architect and the political dimension of the discipline. This lecture brings the learnings, experiences, and contradictions from a cooperative architecture in-the-making.

Gabriel Cira and Quilian Riano, part of the Coop Network Group of The Architecture Lobby, acted as respondents and shared the work the collective is doing on the transformative potential of cooperatives for the practice of architecture and for broader society.


Suggested readings

George Kafka, “Sustainable building, sustainable living: La Borda, Barcelona by Lacol,” Architects’ Journal, June 23, 2020.

Lacol cop, “Cooperativa de Vivienda La Borda,” T18 Magazine, 33/34 Winter 2020, 130-149.

Stavrides Stavros, “Common Space: The City as Commons,” (London: Zed Books, 2016).

Silvia Federici, “Revolution at Point Zero, Housework, Reproduction and Feminist Struggle,” (San Francisco: PM Press, 2012).

Ethel Baraona Pohl, “Cooperative Housing as a Means More Than an End,” MAS Context, February 18, 2021.

Ethel Baraona Pohl, “Coming together: La Comunal in Barcelona, Spain by Lacol,” The Architectural Review, February 24, 2021.

Gabriel Cira, Peggy Deamer, Ashton Hamm, James Heard, Will Martin, Quilian Riano, Shawhin Roudbari, and Christian Rutherford, “Template for a Cooperative Network of Small Architecture Practices,” MAS Context, August 12, 2020.


La Borda Cooperative Housing, Barcelona. © IMHAB. Courtesy of Lacol.


La Borda Cooperative Housing, Barcelona. © Lluc Miralles. Courtesy of Lacol.


La Comunal Cooperative Space, Barcelona. © Lluc Miralles. Courtesy of Lacol.


La Comunal Cooperative Space, Barcelona. © Lluc Miralles. Courtesy of Lacol.


Coòpolis BCN. Phase 0, Barcelona. © Lacol.


Participatory process about La Model prison, Barcelona. © Lacol.


Cristina Gamboa is a chartered architect and co-founder of Lacol, a cooperative of architects established in 2014 in Barcelona. Lacol’s practice embraces architecture, urbanism, housing policies, and participatory processes, blurring the limits of the different disciplines to define a cross-sectional and participative approach. At Lacol, she focuses on researching participative approaches to design and developing cooperative housing and housing policies, tested in ongoing projects. Cristina currently teaches at the Architectural Association in London and ETSAB in Barcelona. | @lacolarq

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