Critical Concrete, is a busy non-profit organisation taking on challenges linked to the construction industry and aiming for sustainable practices. Located in Porto, where the need for affordable housing solutions is ever noticeable, Critical Concrete challenges the regular dynamisms of real estate development and promotes new mechanisms to rehabilitate social housing, improve public and cultural spaces shared by low-income communities. We also question the political meaning of sustainability in architecture, which has ambiguous connotations. For Critical Concrete, we follow our own understanding of sustainable architecture as: long lasting and easily repairable structures, made of locally sourced materials and upcycled waste.
Therefore, Critical Concrete has focused on researching, educating, designing and consulting on sustainable construction methods.
Our research hub for natural and sustainable construction materials researches anything from Mycelium as insulation to flooring made out of ash and lime. We use these materials as an affordable non-polluting solution to renovate social housing units, which simultaneously advocates for the fundamental universal right for adequate housing. Additionally, we record our findings through articles aiming for accessibility to a broad audience of DIY builders in the future and for our community to be informed and inspired.
We decided to venture into educational programmes as a response to the growing interest in our research activities. Therefore, we began hosting an international practical and theoretical Summer School from 2016-2019. Here, families-in-need, students, and an interdisciplinary group of mentors, researchers, and practitioners teamed up to demonstrate the collective power capable of changing people’s housing habits. Its success inspired us to extend our education programmes by launching Criti.co – our sustainability e-learning hub, along with the one-year postgraduation course Sustainable-Sustainable Architecture
The Critical Studio component began since the Porto community started showing interest in our work. Now, we offer architectural consulting and design services to homeowners through our experience and expertise in sustainable construction in and around Porto. Following our philosophy to build with instead of for the people, we engage with the clients through participatory processes and personalized sustainable design solutions.
Last but not least, Co-lateral is the name of our Porto headquarters which serves as our office and workshop. Yet, we also love to use the space to host events and educational sessions to connect people with a keen interest in working towards a sustainable future.
We see the need for radical change in this world plagued by poverty, rising inequality, and waste of natural resources. We want to contribute to reshaping our society into one that is more egalitarian, empowering, and responsible within its social, environmental, and economic context.
MISSION – STRATEGIC GOALS
VALUES – CODE OF ETHICS
We live and convey our values as an organization to be:
Our work as a non-profit organization means we have fluctuating resources. Therefore, we’ve joined the Patreon platform as a way to get additional support. If you believe in everything we work on, feel free to support us with some donations!
We are extremely grateful for the regular support from our donors Joana Pessanha, Luis Díaz Díaz, Smriti Dhingra, Lindsey DePull, and Jules Esdaile. THANK YOU!