ENTRY #529



Identify a public space


We believe that free speech should be an “everywhere exercise” and not be bound to an activity to be performed only in certain areas. For these reasons, we have decided for the “designing – for – free – speech” challenge to develop a public space in a generic mode.

Our proposal “flows within the streets and stands on the squares”. It rules the space temporarily and collectively as well. As in the situationist dèrive, it constructs situations on the city that generate the conditions to stimulate, promote and foster free speeches, interactions and public demonstrations.

We propose a three-phase action plan: three urban scales that correspond directly with three ways of free speech.

PHASE 1: As a landmark, it statically occupies the neighborhood square. On this scale we can practice a two-way speech where everybody can speak and be listened. It is the place where the neighborhood exchange can occur, local leisure activities can be performed and participatory decision making can happen.

PHASE 2: During key dates it undertakes its pilgrimage across the streets of New York. The message should now be faster. It is time for the brief speech to take place, for instance, citizen advertising, derive or demonstrations in general.

PHASE 3: After the pilgrimage, the parade, that achieves the metropolitan meeting points. This scale only allows a one-way speech. Here the construction of common symbols takes place, the exchange between neighborhoods and all kinds of massive events related to public demonstration develop.

View the Current Space

Design Proposal

The “Adaptable Machine for urban demonstration” borns in the New Yorker´s neighborhoods”.
It is a symbol built on workshops and fablabs by the general intellect.
It is free, common and it is always evolving.
It is the materialization of the general desire of social change.
It is the “Trojan horse” of the digital fabrication era.
It is the gypsy caravan and the citizen parade that travels from demonstration to demonstration.
It flows around New York celebrating the first amendment and willing to achieve the metropolitan nodes where it is going to be erected as a city´s freedom of speech symbol.
It is an urban plugin that enables public space to be a meeting point, a notice board, a lunch break area, a free market, a cinema, a concert hall, a graffiti wall, an assembly area, a workshop, a classroom,…
All in all it is an architectural device that boosts communication and encourages decision making in different urban scales as well, everything in a decentralized and horizontally way.
It is part of the city.
It is part of the citizens.
It is the beginning of the change.

View the Design Proposal

Video Link


Each neighborhood itself makes one “Adaptable Machine for Urban Demonstration”. The kind and number of sections depends on the neighbors’ demands.

Everybody can download the Open Source design from the web and build pieces on the Fablab (with CNC machines and 3D printers) or in community workshops. Pieces are assembled collectively. Then each neighborhood customizes their unit with plug-ins and elastic skin.

If somebody modifies the design, it will be updated on the Net. It is a common and open design, which evolves freely with time.

The locomotion system, plug-ins and skin are interchangeable, depending on the situation.
Recycled materials or low-tech equipment can be used in combination with digitally fabricated frames and mobile arms. Each machine is a single unit for each neighborhood but they can all fit together in metropolitan meetings.

The contest budget will be supplemented by a crowd-funding campaign to get the amount of money needed to build each machine. In the same manner, each neighborhood will self-manage the production of their “Adaptable Machine for Urban Demonstration”; mass production could reduce the fabrication costs as well.


MMASA Studio is a Spanish-Mexican Office focuses in social projects. They won the Europan Competition in 2010 (Warsaw, Poland) and currently they are working in Emergency Dwelling Projects and Strategies of Urban Revitalization in different parts of the world. http://www.mmasa.net

Luciano Alfaya. Architect from the University of A Coruña (Spain) and Master Degree in Urban Planning and Strategies at the University of Santiago de Compostela. Currently he is teaching  at the TEC Monterrey in Mexico. He was Assistant Lecturer at University of Edinburgh. Partner and founder of MMASA Studio.

Patricia Muñiz. Architect from the University of A Coruña. Metropolis Master in Architecture and Urban Culture at the Polytechnic University of Catalunya. Currently she is teaching at the TEC Monterrey in Mexico. She was Guest Lecturer at College of Management in Israel. Partner and founder of MMASA Studio.

Javier Rocamonde. Architect from the University of A Coruña. Since April 2013 is a regular contributor for MMASA Studio. He entitles previous experience in Permaculture Projects and has been involved in collective actions whose main purpose were the public empowering. Natalia Alvaredo. Architect from the University of A Coruña. Master Degree in Urban Planning from the same University. Her research activities are focused in the transformation of the Public Space. She has worked in several offices and is part of MMASA Studio since December 2013.


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