Play and Work: Tabacalera

Abstract: This paper will discuss the Tabacalera, the popular name for the old tobacco factory erected in central Madrid in 1793. It is a huge building historically involved in the generation of urban and social agencies through industrial production: tobacco and (mostly) women workers, tobacco-makers. It was a blind spot city within the city of female workers and their families with little or no visibility outside its walls. After a series of negotiations between local agents and the Ministry of Culture (the legal owner of the building) part of the space was delivered in May 2010 to the so-called CSA Tabacalera (Social Self-organized Center) a loose group of several civic associations, to start their activities.

In August 2010 I approached the CSA Tabacalera with a project: to organize, during the academic year 2010-2011, collaboration between some of the agents at CSA and the School of Architecture where I teach, with the 4th and 5th year students. The goal was to move all design activities from the School to the actual Tabacalera building and to set up a nomad architectural practice leading to several architectural interventions, which were completed at the end of the project.

Bio: Fernando Quesada is an Architect, educated at the Madrid School of Architecture (ETSAM), the Istituto Universitario di Architettura di Venezia (IUAV), Italy, and Universidad Central, Santiago de Chile, and the Graduate School of Architecture, Planning and Preservation (GSAPP), Columbia University, New York. Since 2001 he has been Assistant Professor of Architectural Design at Escuela de Arquitectura de Alcalá, UAH. He also teaches at “Master the City and the Project” (UAH), “Master in Performing Arts and Visual Culture” (UAH), “Master Paessagi Straordinary” (Politecnico di Milano) and “Master in Advanced Architectural Design” (ETSAM). He is author of “La Caja Mágica, Cuerpo y Escena” (The Magic Box, Body and Scene, Barcelona 2005) and “Del Cuerpo a la Red” (Body to Network, Ediciones Asimétricas, Madrid 2012), and co-director, since 2001, of O-Monografías, art and architecture series journal, with six edited volumes. Co-editor of Cairon 12, Dance Studies Journal “Architecture and the Body” (UAH, 2009).

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