The exhibition Per Durar (Built to Last), currently on display at the headquarter of the Barcelona branch of the Architects’ Association of Catalonia COAC, showcases a collection of photos and a video documenting the restoration project in the village of Tangassogo in Burkina Faso. First documented in the 16th century, the architecture of the village forms part of the Kassena culture, now submitted for the World Heritage Tentative List.
The project received funding from the COAC through the Cooperation Grants that the Association awards. The association contributes 0.7% of its budget to support development projects both in Catalonia and developing countries to fulfil its commitment to implement the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
During the first three weeks of March 2018, more than one hundred women took part in the restoration and plastering of the traditional houses of their village. Construction and building maintenance are undertaken collaboratively by the whole community in the spirit of neighbourhood solidarity. The women play a key role in the conception and preservation of these beautiful, decorated buildings for future generations. Noteworthy are in particular the sense of community that exists among these women and the playful nature of the joint community effort. For the restoration, a traditional plastering technique using everyday tools such as brooms, hoes and stones is applied. The plaster is then finished off with pebbles and natural pigments. These themes, the value of local artisan tradition and the design, construction and maintenance of houses as a collective endeavour, are highlighted in the exhibition.
“Building collectively with our own hands, the passing on of knowledge from generation to generation, and therefore the preservation of local artisan techniques, are traditions that we have forgotten here, and that we would like to reintroduce into our architectural practice,” Sandra Bestraten, president of the Barcelona branch of the Architects’ Association and honorary director of our program, points out. Tangassogo is an example of how the rehabilitation of buildings is firmly integrated in the culture of a village. The exhibition documents this community experience of mutual support and a collective understanding that only by working together our communities can “last” in time.
Until March 8 at the headquarters of the Col·legi d’Arquitectes de Catalunya, Plaça Nova 5, Barcelona
Closing Event: March 13, 2020
Exhibition Photography: Anna Mas