On Friday 1 March, students from the Master’s Degree in International Cooperation Sustainable Emergency Architecture, who, in the two weeks prior to the event, had taken part in a local workshop organised as part of the City Council’s “Barcelona, Refugee City” plan, presented their final proposals at the UIC Barcelona School of Architecture.

The jury included Carmen Mendoza, director of the Master’s Degree; lecturers Raquel Colacios, Marta Benages and Apen Ruiz; and Pablo de Andrés Peralta, there on behalf of the Barcelona City Council.

During the session, the master’s students presented three designs for temporary stay and assistance centres for refugees. Each proposal was based on a preliminary study of the demographics and urban uses of the host districts. Key findings included the presence of an extensive network of public services (hospitals, soup kitchens, community centres, libraries, etc.) in the city of Barcelona, which could facilitate the integration of immigrants in the city. On a sociological level, the surveys conducted by the students revealed that just over half the population believe that Barcelona should receive more refugees and that over 40% of residents would be willing to volunteer to help them adapt.

With their projects, the students ensured that all of the refugees’ basic needs (accommodation, meals and personal hygiene) would be covered for the period immediately following their arrival and that services such as orientation, psychological assistance and language classes would be available. The students also conveyed the need to establish common areas that promote contact between the local residents and refugees, helping to ensure their sustainable integration into society.

Following the defence of the projects, Carmen Mendoza thanked the students for their implication and hard work. “This was a challenge, given the limited time you had, but you rose to the occasion and succeeded in proposing some very inclusive projects”, she concluded. The students were also congratulated by the City Council representative. “Architecture has to be connected to society and its issues. Never forget that”, urged Pablo de Andrés Peralta.

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