Workshop 1+1=11

Chiloé (1980s-1990s) / Copenhagen (2010-2011)

The concept of this workshop was created in Chiloé archipelago, in the Chilean Patagonia, during the 1980s and 1990s when I started my professional life and we co-build together to the local community for more than 15 years, several wooden buildings for social purpose with this method which now we call Workshop 1+1=11: The fisherman house (1985) Housing for Girls & disability (1988-1989), Chapel of Ancud (1990), Elderly house of Maullin (1996-1997) among others.

However, the name of the workshop, which characterize this system, was created when I started to cooperate with the Chilean architect Ricardo Labarca in Copenhagen, who came exiled to Denmark during the 70s for being opponent to the extreme right dictatorship in Chile. Ricardo had a Pakistani client who needed an extension of his house, we visited him in the winter of 2010-2011 and he explained us the idea behind of a traditional Pakistani quote “1+1=11”. One person plus another person are equal to 11 persons.

1+1=11 was extremely inspiring, beautiful and poetic. At that moment, I was looking for a name for the workshop of collective construction that we created in the Chilean Patagonia. It was so clear that in the home of the Pakistani immigrant and merchant, in the suburban area of Copenhagen, was the name: Workshop 1+1=11

The first co-building with this new name, “Workshop 1+1=11”, was made in 2011 and 2014 in La Sabina [1], close to Rome with another exiled Chilean architect from the 1980s, in this case to Italy, Renato Vivaldi. He did his first steps in architecture in Chiloé, a mysterious way to close the circle.

Besides it, in Chiloé archipelago exists the same modality of co-working called “Minga”, a traditional collective way of cooperation inside the local community which have an origin in the indigenous groups of the Patagonia. “Minga” is whatever collective work with social purpose, where solidarity and collectivism are the center of the action, the same goal of our Workshop 1+1=11

text by Jorge Lobos

[1] Vivaldi R. Lobos J. Workshop 1+1=11 La Sabina, Italy 2011 and 2014, recovering abandoned rural villages; The Royal Danish Academy KADK, Riga Technical University RTU, University of Sassari UNISS, Technical University of Crete, Greece, TRECC La Sabina, and ARCH+H.R.