Basurama is a Spanish collective of architects who create projects which provide cultural amenities while facilitating a wider conversation about waste as a resource. These projects take on many different forms, such as workshops, public art interventions, maps or data visualizations. Basurama is best known for creating colorful playgrounds from common landfill waste like old tires, wooden pallets, and discarded plastics.
The founding members originally met while still students at Escuela Técnica Superior de Arquitectura de Madrid. Rejecting the conventions of architectural education, the group of thenstudents left studio and took to the streets – engaging, participating and learning from the city around them. In addition to their architectural projects, Basurama has also developed a unique community training program around the concept of waste. Residuos Sólidos Urbanos (Urban Solid Waste or RUS) is a public art multiformat project that considers waste, both in solid and spatial senses. The projects look at waste as material resource with which to reactivate abandoned space. Waste + Wasted Space = New Public Space.
RUS is effectively a prototyping process and a speed training for communities with little to no economic resources. The ambition is to leave a community with the skills to convert its own waste into productive improvements. Each RUS project starts with a research trip to get in contact with locals and get to know the city (conflicts, community, NGOs, artists, universities, etc.). From there, the research is organized, local collaborators are chosen, projects are designed and the group subsequently works with municipalities to secure local permissions.
We honor their work for how it makes us think about consumer culture and the waste that it produces. Beyond a literal definition of trash, Basurama’s work makes us consider wasted space, wasted energy, and how higher thinking on these issues can lead to urban rejuvenation.