The building that now bears the name of Mezcal Squat was built inside the insane asylum of “Certosa Reale di Collegno” in 1910. An isolated Pavilion surrounded by a wall designed for the care of the criminally insane, later home for TB patients that needed isolation.
In 1978 the law 180 (Legge Basaglia) was approved, with the mean of emptying and closing Psychiatric Hospital.
The number of patient decrease from 4633 in 1968 to 1710 in 1979. The last 4 departments were closed in 1993, and 100 people still hospitalized are sent to therapeutic communities. The asylum’s story ends and begins that of abandonment.
The Pavilion of the criminally insane has hosted in nearly twenty years an abusive dump, as well as serving as a shelter for people without ability or rights, as homeless people or immigrants.
On 4 August 2006 is occupied and re-opened. The objectives of the occupants were to form an open space for all kinds of activity, from politics to entertainment, revolutionizing their daily lives through the practice of self-management and self-construction. But the conditions the building had been left were really bad.
The renovation of the ground floor has requested a three-year job and two more to the foreground. The first few months of occupation were dedicated to waste and rubble disposal, and to the redevelopment of the garden which was flooded with rubbish, weeds …and pests.
So the group has transformed the institutional structure, building out of nowhere free creative environments. This is the result of the work of many people, not only the occupants, who have participated, and continues to participate at this project. To accomplish this work anyone has never been asked for money and no funding were received. The materials were donated or recovered, along with people sympathetic to the project and is operated in the same way.
This is the first evidence that with solidarity and cooperation we can carry out a different life. Without leaders or controlling institutions, without parties or flags to convince us, we created and continue to create a free space where people can meet, discuss, create, where ideas can flow freely and become something real.