Can Masdeu is always under construction. The possibilities for improving the spaces are almost endless, but since occupying the building, work has been done to ensure the structural soundness of the building from its previously degraded state. This process was done with the advice and support of Architects without Borders.
In 2001, after nearly half a century of neglect, the main building was threatened by the imminent collapse of the roof and most of outbuildings were in a dilapidated state. Outside, the terraces for cultivation had disappeared under brambles, and the complex irrigation system was filled with tons of earth and inoperable. With a budget inversely proportional to the size of the vision we had, we have been renovating the main structure, especially the roof, and we have recovered the water tanks and the terraces.
Gradually we had to change a lot of beams from different parts of the house that had been affected by the leaks for decades. Also, over time, we have improved the habitability of space with ever more careful and less temporary interventions. And, along with our friends in the community gardens,we have recovered a complex and surprisingly productive agricultural infrastructure, from the drains to the well, recovering all sorts of forgotten corners and collapsed walls.
Bit by bit we have been also renovated parts of the building which we have designated for public use, from the “yoga room” to the gardens and the PIC social centre, through to the open space by the lime tree and the centuries old stairs, as well as a host of outbuildings, for example the bakery or the beer “factory”. In total, about 30 workshops and storerooms allow us to self-manage part of the recycling of materials.
We investigate techniques for cheap and sustainable bioconstruction buildings, and learn various skills, such as manufacturing solar water heaters, and building using timber frame techniques, the design of compost toilets and wood stoves, building with pallets or cane, painting with cal (lime) and drip irrigation systems, amongst many other things. If you want to help with these tasks, stay join to the mailing of the PIC, or one of the many work camps we organise.