social housing ‘avagarden’

IDEAS COMPETITION FOR SOCIAL HOUSING IN GAVÀ, BARCELONA

The project seeks to establish a relationship between the building (the contemporary box) with the landscape. The box breaks into smaller units through incisions that house the vertical circulation cores. These brackets compartmentalize the building, provide the guidelines for the facade, and manage to reduce the size of the whole, breaking down the scale of the residential building.

The building makes a transition between the natural environment of the Mediterranean forest, its setting, and the new urban environment, the modified landscape. The gaps between the structural ribs and the dwellings connect while framing the landscape, allowing views to cross from the sea to the mountain. The architectural elements in these spaces, such as the stairs, are inspired by the cross section of the mountain. These vertical accesses, principal to the proposal, also retain a domestic, individual character.

In attempting to answer the essential problem of “the box,” a double skin is proposed, an external active plane of the façade, giving autonomy to the compositional and structural elements. This façade is seen as a double filter to the outside, allowing a lighter image and integrating the building into the landscape.

In the south, a wooden facade unifies the different modules, integrating into the whole each window’s wooden slats, which control the amount of light and the degree of privacy of the inhabitants. This striped wooden skin folds around the building to create balconies. This double skin--pro- tecting the bedrooms and galleries--is composed of shutters that can fully close“the box.” Meanwhile, the north facade highlights the large openings in the wall and emphasizes some lines that frame either lintels or balconies.

The dwelling typology is selected in order to enjoy the good views from both orientations, which are in opposite directions in the site. Addressing the dilemma posed by the fact that the best distant views are north–facing the valley and the sea–and the closest views are south, we choose to give priority to the views over the orientation. The living room is located in the main facade facing north and the street, while the bedrooms are in the rear façade facing south. The parting walls that separate the dwellings from the access area also have small windows to allow lateral views to the north and south through this shared space.

The simple housing organization and its elongated proportions, result in flexible dwellings with a high spatial flow around the water core, which divides the realms of night and day. The south facade is proposed as a filter for an interstitial space between the inner and outer, generating a heating pad and facilitating the convection ventilation. In summer, the controlled radiation by mobile external sunscreens and the crossed ven- tilation ensure an optimal climate comfort.

Programmatically, the parking is located in the underground, and retail is located on the ground floor where an open passage has been designed to allow a more direct connection between the street, the mountain and the park.