Proyecto Rehabitar

Exhibition: Cities | October 11, 2011 by

In response to a housing shortage in the 1970s and 1980s, the Argentine government built scores of housing developments across the country, but due to a lack of resources, poor planning, and little oversight, the developments have since dramatically deteriorated. Tearing the structures down and rebuilding would not only temporarily displace up to a million residents, but would be cost-prohibitive. Estimates suggest the cost of rehabilitation is only 25% that of new construction. Proyecto Rehabitar (the “Rehabilitation Project” in Spanish), led by architect Eduardo Bekinschtein, brings together Argentina’s Housing and Urban Development Secretary with the Central Society of Architects to evaluate and propose modifications to existing social housing stock. After quantifying the problem—750 developments consisting of 250,000 households—the team is integrating buildings with the city, generating more effective public spaces, and engaging communities to ensure user participation. Housing that is deteriorated beyond repair is torn down. Rehabilitation work will be implemented in partnership with the housing secretary, municipal agencies, and community groups. Initial interventions have begun in Fuerte Apache, located on the outskirts of Buenos Aires. The grid of city roads ends abruptly at the barrio, creating a rupture within the city with few access points. New routes through the neighborhood will connect it with the city grid. Improved pedestrian connections between buildings, new equipment, and refurbished interior spaces including stairwells and walkways will improve quality of life in the community and ensure better integration with the city.

Architects: Eduardo Bekinschtein, Lucía E. Calcagno, Domingo Pablo Risso Patron. Collaborators: Secretary of Housing and Urban Development of Argentina, Argentina Central Society of Architects, Ernesto Pastrana and Verónica Di Francesco, Department of Social Sciences, University of Buenos Aires. Argentina, 2008–present

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