Carabanchel Social Housing
Location: Madrid, Spain
RIBA European Award in 2008
Client: Empresa Municipal de Vivienda y Suelo
Date: 2008 Completion
Total Area: 9,600m2 (93 Units)
Budget: €5.2 million
FOA Partner in charge: Alejandro Zaera-Polo
Project Leader: David Casino
Design Team: Nerea Calvillo, Leo Gallegos, Caroline Markus, Joaquim Rigau, Eva Scheucher
Structural Engineer: Jesus Hierro, JHS Proyecto de Estructuras y Arquitectura, S.L.
Quantity surveyor: Alfonso Cuenca Sanchez
Electrical Engineer: FASEVEN
Mechanical Engineer: ASETECNIC
Telecommunication Engineer: Rafael Herranz, S.D.C.
Operating within a limited budget, the Carabanchel Social Housing project comprises 100 social housing units on the outskirts of Madrid. The development, within a regeneration area, is bounded by a new urban park on the West and by similar housing blocks on the North, East and South. Regulations set the number of units and the percentages of every size. The maximum height was also a constraint.
Given the adjacency to a future urban park and the North-South orientation of the site, our proposal is to compact the volume within the maximum height in order to provide a private garden for the complex on the eastern side and to produce double aspect units facing both gardens. In order to achieve this, the units became deep “tubes” that connect both façades. Thanks to the compactness of the block, we succeeded in providing fully glazed façades for all the exterior surfaces.
The façades have been lined with a 1.5m wide terrace which provides a semi-exterior buffer space, enclosed by bamboo screens mounted on folding frames. The screens protect the glazed surfaces from the strong East-West solar exposure, and are able to open to the side gardens when desired.
Our target was to provide the maximum amount of space, flexibility and quality to the residences, and to erase the visibility of the units and their differences by creating a single volume with a homogeneous skin which is able to incorporate a gradation of possibilities. The primary architectural effect of the building is not dependent on the architect’s vision, but is an effect of the inhabitants’ choices, as if the façade was a register at any given moment of a cumulative effect of individuals’ choices.