Youth Factory, Factoría Joven, in Mérida, Spain, is an example of what can be done if a regional government works with the community and local designers to meet the needs of youth that may otherwise be heading down the slippery path of street life.
The structure may not be a permanent monument to architecture, but it is definitely a better place than the back streets of Spanish cities. We are all for any attempt at all to provide children and youth a place to be kids, to be creative and just have some fun.
Factoría Joven was designed by Madrid-based Selgascano Architects, a partnership between husband and wife, José Selgas and Lucía Cano.
Using recycled furniture, inexpensive building materials and temporary solutions, the designers were definitely not looking to build a monument to architecture; they were much more interested in affordable ordinariness and practical possibilities.
Factoría Joven helps attract the restless, unemployed street youth off the streets and provides them with a place to skateboard, hip-hop dance, climb rocks, create graffiti — whatever they would otherwise do in much more sinister surroundings. There are also a computer lab and a dance studio, both 800-square-meters in size. Meeting rooms and spaces for theatre, video and music are all included.
This is one of several such “youth factories” in the area; recreational centers and places that are inclusive, open and safe. - Tuija Seipell
Photography by Roland Halbe.