Search

Let's welcome the dawN after the darkest hour! Meet CAuSA - Unidos por uma casa

Updated: Mar 10

CAUSA is allowing us to be supportive and help with what architects and engineers know how to do best. As a result, today, almost five years later, we have already built 33 houses, 26 farming sheds and this year we'll build more 15 sheds.





After a pandemic and now with a war that overshadows our daily lives, it may be more difficult to remember the year of 2017, marked mainly by two great wild fires.


It was in October 2017 that CAuSA - Unidos por uma Casa was born, so that we could help with the fire catastrophe in the center of the country. Together with a school in Lisbon, I went north, as a volunteer, to support all those who had lost so much. It was already there that I realized that I could also support as an architect.


Those who lost their house had a new one, but those farmers who lost products, tractors, sheds, vegetable gardens and animals got only five thousand euros.

The houses that were totally destroyed were supported by the State in their reconstruction, but many others, having not burned down, were not habitable and needed extensive restoration work. With this scenario, Associação CAuSA - Unidos por uma Casa was born, aiming to bring architecture to those who couldn't have it. This first summer we worked with Just a Change to rehabilitate 30 houses, hiring local contractors coordinated by groups of volunteers to rebuild the houses. Here, my role was to identify the houses, together with the City Councils of Santa Comba Dão, Tondela and Arganil, and carry out the architectural projects, measurements and budgets.


It was in Tondela that we were asked to restore some farming sheds, because 90% of those affected were subsistence farmers, people who were not homeless but were without all their livelihood. Those who lost their house had a new one, but those farmers who lost products, tractors, sheds, vegetable gardens and animals got only five thousand euros.


The ambition of the association, which is just beginning, is to become an association of architecture and engineering companies, because they don't have a social responsibility organization, but they do have will and, now, initiative.

In these cases, CAuSA built multipurpose farming sheds, inspired by the traditional construction of the northern granaries model, reusing burnt wood, which was recovered in local sawmills. Each shed costs 3500 euros, about half the market price, is made with local labour, restores hope and dignity and prevents the proliferation of sheet metal sheds.


From this stage we started to grow in ideas and in accomplishments. Today we're implementing this project on a larger scale, which involves the social kitchens of the villages. In Arganil, for example, we have the support of Santa Casa da Misericórdia in the survey of cases, as it is very close to the population, through a home support team, which brings meals to people.


Here, the aim was to connect farmers with these kitchens, which buy vegetables in supermarkets. With the purchase of the shed, or a part of it, even if only symbolic, the farmer would be linked to a cooperative, being able to produce vegetables to sell to these social kitchens. The ambition of the association, which is just beginning, is to become an association of architecture and engineering companies, because they don't have a social responsibility organization, but they do have will and, now, initiative.


CAUSA allows us to be supportive and help with what architects and engineers know how to do best. The result is that today, almost five years later, we have already built 33 houses, 26 farming sheds and this year we'll build more 15 sheds. After the darkest hour comes the dawns. Today and tomorrow we hope that this will always be the case.