Case Study 4

Spaces of opportunity: Adaptive re-use strategies for ground floor commercial spaces

Typology 4: Partially finished process

Darío Pereiro Barreiro, Irene García Paz, Natalia Pérez Cardoso, Tania Pais Castro

Research Questions
The research investigates a small but widely occuring typology in Coruña, the vacant ground floor storefront and investigates possible adaptions in use for this soon to be obsolete typology.

Research Methodology
The action network model focuses on the relationship of the owner and the user of the space as the investigated space is currently partly (under-)used as a storage for an adjacent bar. In situ interviews with residents of the area reinforced the groups interest to propose possible spatial uses for these kinds of spaces based on the neighbourhoods urban deficits. The recent “Lei 4/2016, 23 de decembro” from Cataluña
which gives the government the right to temporarily expropriate owners of empty housing for social reasons is identified as a possible political and legal strategy that could be adapted in Galicia.

Taking into account society’s changes in shopping behavior (From the historic storefronts to shopping malls and to contemporary online shopping) and spatial needs of the neighbourhood the group proposes adaptions of use, rather then re-activations as a shopping space. They propose several possible adaptive strategies, such as a new legal framework for temporary use of these kind of spaces as public or half public and half private spaces, adapted with mobile and disassembleable walls and furnitures. A further possible use the group proposes is a residential use for senior citizens with limited mobility.


Espazos de oportunidade: estratexias de reutilización adaptativa para espazos comerciais de planta baixa

Tipoloxía 4: Proceso parcialmente rematado

Darío Pereiro Barreiro, Irene García Paz, Natalia Pérez Cardoso, Tania Pais Castro

Cuestións disparadoras
A investigación procura unha tipoloxía menor aínda que moi frecuente na Coruña: o local comercial baleiro en planta baixa e investiga as posibles adaptacións do seu uso para esta tipoloxía, que axiña será unha tipoloxía obsoleta.

Metodoloxía da investigación
O modelo de acción céntrase na relación do propietario e do usuario do espazo toda vez que este se atopa hoxe parcialmente en uso (como almacenamento dun bar estremeiro). As entrevistas in situ coas persoas residentes na zona identificaron nos grupos de interese posibles usos axeitados a este tipo de espazos en concordancia cos déficits urbanos do barrio. A recente "Lei 4/2016, de 23 de decembro" de Cataluña, que dá ao goberno o dereito de expropiar temporalmente aos propietarios de vivendas baleiras por razóns sociais, identifícase como unha posible estratexia política e legal que podería adaptarse en Galicia.

Tívose en conta a mudanza nos modos sociais de comportamento ante a decisión de compra (evolucionouse de facelo en tendas históricas a facelo en centros comerciais e máis recentemente a realizalo mediante plataformas “online”). Tamén se consideraron as necesidades espaciais do barrio. Así as cousas o grupo propón adaptacións de uso, no canto de reactivalo como espazo comercial. Nesa liña propóñense varias posibles estratexias adaptativas, como un novo marco legal para o uso temporal deste tipo de espazos como espazos públicos ou semi-públicos ou semi-particulares, adaptados con paredes e mobles móbiles e desmontables a un uso posible como residencial para persoas maiores con pouca mobilidade.


Javier Harguindey

Interested in uncovering the links between forces that shape the urban environment (social, technical,…) with focus on the demographics and data.

Architect / Urbanist, UDC

Prof. Dr. Placido Lizancos

Interested in building up a research methodology to address key questions on identification and classification of the issue. Interested in understanding what has the "crisis" left behind and to establish a scientific method by which to address it. Interested in exposing academia to "real life" contexts and setting the teaching conditions to ensure that the classroom is not committed to supporting such practice that facilitates such crisis.

Architecture Professor UDC

Scott Lloyd

Interested in understanding the actions, networks and forces that give shape to the city. Interested developing new models of applied research to investigate the issue. Interested in the format of teaching to inform and empower the next generation of city makers.

Architect, MSc Arch ETHZ

Xosé Lois

Interested in analysing what can be done with existed buildings with the notion that each example is of itself a particular context. This takes into account the relations between different components of the systems that shape the building context.

Population and the role of Galicia in state policy where real state is one of the main economic motor of economic growth.

This is a very complex situation, we cannot propose just one question, as the project is develops, questions will appear. What kind of economic model we want? Rental or production? What kind of country do we want? We destroy our productive model and now we have a speculative model based on construction of space

Architect, UDC

Hans-Christian Rufer

Interested to create access to affordable housing. Interested in a multidisciplinary approach that corresponds to the complex environment of housing. Interested to use the architecture studio as a place to integrate the diverse range of partners into site specific projects.

Architect, MSc Arch ETHZ


Dr. Estefanía Calo

Interested in recovering links between the right to housing and the right to the City: both are under threat and both are required in order to achieve urban justice. Interested in establishing Empty Coruña? is a first stage to develop knowledge about how to resist this systemic threat against basic citizen rights.

Sociologist, UDC


Anxo Calvo

Is the market able to solve the problem by itself or should we be looking for regulatory solutions? What regulatory frameworks are available and appropriate for Coruña?

Economist, UDC

Roberto Castro Thome

Interested in the question of regulation as nothing is possible from a single bank with even the ethical banks that are trying to do something having no success. Furthermore interested in the Valuing agencies as they overvalued housing during the creation of the bubble.

Banker, Association Pro-Housing


Fernando Del Llano

Interested in researching the current conditions as an environment issue focusing on energy and economic point of view.

Environmental Scientist, UDC

Ángeles Longadera

Interested in researching energy efficiency, energy “pobreza”

Environmental Scientist, UDC

Urban Studies

Manuel García Docampo

Interested in investigating a research methodology that encompasses the three dimensions of: Agency – Processes – Objects

Sociologist, UDC   


José María Cardesín Diz

Interested in researching urban growth and development of 7 cities in Galicia during the crisis in order to compare them with A Coruña

Historian, UDC


Ricard Leonardo

Interested in researching the formal administrative tools utilised to frame and criminalize “illegal” occupation. Research should take a critical point of view and investigate what people do by themselves to solve the problem.

Architect / Activist


Michael Juan Sierra

Sonia Beltrán

Interested in researching the right to housing

Interested in researching the social problem of the crisis and how these are urban issues

Architecture Students / Mapping team, UDC


Amal Nnechachi

Interested in the human side of the crisis as hauman rights are being undermined. Drawing from experiences of colleagues who have suffered directly from the housing problems.

Cartolab UDC

Alberto Varela

Interested in mapping and understanding the effect of the crisis in the urban context in order to visualize the problem.  In order to identify the problem the social point of view should be taken into account through information tools and extend the study to other cities.

Cartolab UDC

Building Engineering

Santiago López

Interested in researching technical approaches to improving environmental issues and to minimize the environmental impact of empty buildings. There is a social interest in this approach.

We should complete empty buildings taking into account alternative materials and techniques and develop innovative environmental building techniques.

Building Engineer