Founded in 2009 during the global economic crisis, the archi tecture cooperative Lacol has sought ways to replace the profit-driven real estate market with a socially oriented, sustain able economy. Lacol’s approach has helped to inspire new housing cooperatives in Barcelona both on the client side and among architects. Several neighbourhood projects in the district of Sants in central Barcelona, where Lacol is based,  led to its first cooperative housing project, La Borda, which won international awards; the team now includes 13 architects. In search of more office space, Lacol transformed an old factory in central Sants into the cooperative-run creative quarter La Comunal espai cooperatiu. Lacol is now building four more housing cooperatives in the north and on the outskirts of Barcelona. The solutions are individual, but the strategy – like at La Balma in Poblenou – remains the same: communal spaces, contact with the neighbourhood, cost-effective construction, local, sustainable building materials, and an energy supply that is as CO2-neutral as possible.

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