Atelier d’architecture autogérée
The Studio for self-managed architecture (aaa) was founded by the architects Constantin Petcou and Doina Petrescu in 2001. It is a collective platform which conducts explorations, actions and research concerning urban mutations and cultural, social and political emerging practices in the contemporary city. aaa acts through ‘urban tactics’, encouraging the participation of inhabitants at the self-management of disused urban spaces.
It is by micro-political acting that aaa wants to participate in making the city more ecological and more democratic, to make the space of proximity less dependent on top-down processes and more accessible to its users. The ‘self-managed architecture’ is an architecture of relationships, processes and agencies of persons, desires, skills and know-hows. Such an architecture asks for new forms of association and collaboration, based on exchange and reciprocity and involving all those interested (individuals, organisations, institutions), whatever is their scale. aaa describe their architecture as „at the same time political and poetic as it aims above all to ‘create relationships between worlds’“.
One of the early projects of aaa was „ECObox“. Starting in 2001 it encouraged residents to transform misused urban spaces with the help of temporary gardens constructed from recycled material. The garden progressively extended into a platform for urban criticism and creativity. With the project „Le 56 / Eco-interstice“ initiated in 2006, aaa explored the possibilities of an urban interstice to be transformed into a collectively self-managed space. This space facilitated neighborhood exchange, and at the same time served as a laboratory for ecological questions including energetic autonomy, recycling, minimal ecological footprint, a compost laboratory. This combination of social and ecological function is even further developed in the project R-Urban. R-Urban is a bottom-up strategy that explores the possibilities of enhancing the capacity of urban resilience by introducing a network of resident-run facilities to create complementaries between key fields of activity (economy, housing, urban agriculture, culture). R-Urban initiates locally closed ecological cycles that will support the emergence of alternative models of living, producing, and consuming between the urban and the rural. Several pilot projects are currently being developed in Colombes, a town in the northwestern suburbs of Paris. These pilots include a unit of urban agriculture (AgroCité), a recycling unit (RecyLab), and the plan for a cooperative and ecological residential unit (EcoHab). With the project Rhyzom aaa is also engaged in creating a European collaborative network for local cultural production and trans-local dissemination.