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The University of Southampton
Winchester School of Art

Associate Professor Daniel Cid wins ADI Culture Gold Prize

Published: 18 June 2018
Topographies of Homelessness

On the 14th of June, Daniel Cid (Associate Professor at Winchester School of Art – University of Southampton) with Eva Serrats and Francesc Pla (Leve Projects) were awarded, ex aequo, the ADI Culture Gold prize which is given by the designers’ association ADI FAD (Barcelona, Spain).

Every two years since 1961, this designers association presents an award for design excellence to projects developed in Spain. ADI Culture’s specific objective is to promote public awareness of projects that contribute to the social and cultural development of design, and that incentivise dialogue, ideas, critique, initiatives or research into its many formats.

The project which won them the award is “Topographies of Homelessness”. This was developed in collaboration with Arrels Fundació, an organisation dedicated to the care of homeless people in the city of Barcelona. The objective of this project is to rethink the assistance and support spaces managed by this organisation (drop in centres, living spaces or occupational workshops) in order to adapt them to the real needs of people who have suffered the loss of their home. This is a rethinking exercise through design which, simultaneously attempts to create a welcoming and emotive environment designed to promote a change in the situation of persons affected by homelessness.

The starting point for this collaboration was Zero Flat, a new type of apartment for chronically homeless persons with difficulties adapting to any other housing resource due to the high degree of their social exclusion. Combining the characteristics of a night shelter with the minimal requirements for sleeping rough as well as the warmth of a home, this new space proposes new ways of living that respond to the real needs of the long-term homelessness. During the first year of operation, after its launch in January 2017, more than 40% of Zero Flat’s users were able to improve their situation and move on to another apartment or residence for the elderly. Another significant project has been the reform led by Leve Projects from La Troballa, the occupational centre at Arrels. A space in which to carry out different trades linked to crafts and industry, and designed as a way back into employment.

The “Topographies of homelessness” project is still active and learning while the things are in use, developing new proposals and reflecting on what has been done. In its day-to-day work, the Arrels Fundació attends to homelessness, one of the most serious problems currently experienced in Europe. In this process, where existing models don’t always work, it has been able to incorporate the variables of design and research as tools with which to refloat real-life situations.

In their assessment, the judges of the ADI Culture award emphasised that “Topographies of Homelessness” confronts economic deprivation and social abandonment through unnegotiable standards: people are not even what they have nor what they don’t have. They are what they choose or prefer.

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