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Marta Labastida

Intervention Location


Factory of stories: Narrative as a tool for the reconversion of abandoned spaces. The example of the Belcor textile factory

Rui Ferreira

One of the main problems of the contemporary urban territory is the fragmentation caused by the presence of vacant lands and abandoned buildings. This is the result of inadequate economic policies, mainly those implemented during the financial crisis of the beginning of this century. This can be seen especially in industrial cities, such as in the case analysed (city of Felgueiras), as a result of the large scale of these places, that generate serious problems in the urban grid.

An answer to this problem comes, in most cases, in the form of decontextualized actions focused only in exploitation and monetization of the spaces. It is also the result of ignoring many of its potential opportunity-leading characteristics. Despite the negative image associated with these places, they are part of the collective memory and identity of the population, and this latency and the empty space are its greatest potential.

Normally, this emptiness would be seen as an opportunity to set up a building program. The intention here is different. Using the case study of Belcor factory, I want to propose a different perspective and a analysis of this “space between” in the ruin process, not looking for a solution, but for alternative forms of how to use the space.

The challenge of drawing in the “meanwhile”, despite being a future opportunity, is also conditioned by the past. The attempt to reduce the distance between the shattered space and within the city. A position between the history of the place and the fiction, between the real and the imagined.

Thus, the narrative is used as an analysis tool, connecting stories of different times, such as memories from the past and present needs, in order to find connection points to encourage future actions. This being said, apart from being distinctive, these actions are based on the identity and needs of the place and the factory is not only a representation of these stories but also the machine where they are created.