Technical Assistance for an Informal Settlement

The work with the neigh­bor­hood of Ter­ras da Cos­ta is not an iso­lat­ed case for ate­lier­mob. For a long time now, the office has been work­ing on sim­i­lar neigh­bor­hoods, advo­cat­ing bet­ter equipped, legal hous­ing for peo­ple in infor­mal set­tle­ments and pro­vid­ing tech­ni­cal assis­tance. The archi­tects see this work as an exten­sion of the archi­tec­tur­al pro­fes­sion, which so often only cares about for­mal and aes­thet­ic mat­ters, but com­plete­ly ignores social and eco­nom­ic rela­tion­ships. © Fer­nan­do Guerra

South of Lis­bon, in the hin­ter­land of hotels and apart­ment com­plex­es, is the not yet legal­ized Ter­ras da Cos­ta quar­ter. In 2012, the idea of set­ting up a com­mu­nal kitchen was born in the neigh­bor­hood. Their pro­pos­al was tied to hopes that author­i­ties would agree to install a water sup­ply and there­by start the legal­iza­tion process of the set­tle­ment. The archi­tec­tur­al office ate­lier­mob and many oth­er groups, ini­tia­tives, and indi­vid­u­als sup­port­ed this ambi­tion in var­i­ous ways. Some con­tributed their work direct­ly, oth­ers posi­tioned them­selves in sol­i­dar­i­ty, and foun­da­tions fund­ed the project. After about two years, water final­ly flowed to Ter­ras da Cos­ta. But many oth­er aspects remained unre­solved or have not been decid­ed polit­i­cal­ly, so that set­tle­ments in sim­i­lar sit­u­a­tions have to con­tin­ue the fight for their rights to the city.


Coz­in­ha Comunitária das Ter­ras da Cos­ta (Com­mu­ni­ty Kitchen of Ter­ras Da Costa)


ate­lier­mob and Colec­ti­vo Ware­house, archi­tects; res­i­dents of Ter­ras da Cos­ta, con­struct­Lab, support




Ter­ras da Cos­ta, Lis­bon, Portugal

The infor­mal set­tle­ment of Ter­ras da Cos­ta south of Lis­bon. © Fer­nan­do Guerra
The legal­iza­tion of the set­tle­ment was nev­er at issue. Instead, the neighborhood’s coop­er­a­tion with the archi­tec­tur­al bureau has result­ed in the pri­or­i­ti­za­tion of a water con­nec­tion that is polit­i­cal­ly fea­si­ble. © Fer­nan­do Guerra
The water sup­ply runs through the kitchen and serves hygiene and san­i­tary func­tions. © Fer­nan­do Guerra
© Fer­nan­do Guerra