Finding affordable housing is not easy for many people. Subsidized housing can result in poor quality, inhospitable spaces that engender social problems. A project by the Spanish architects Peris + Toral shows that this is not necessarily true. They realized a six-storey building with 85 apartments on an area of 13,000 m2 in Cornellà de Llobregat, Spain.
The stand out feature of the architectural concept for the project is that it supports social interaction between the residents. The building is organised around an inner courtyard that connects a series of intermediate spaces. On the ground floor, an open portico to the entrance serves as a small community space bridging the gap between public space and the communal courtyard. Instead of entering each of the building’s corridors directly and independently from the exterior façade, four communication shafts are located in the four corners of the courtyard, allowing all residents to gather and meet.
On a typical floor, access to the apartments is through porticoes that, like private terraces, form a ring of outdoor spaces overlooking the courtyard. There are 18 apartments with a total of 114 rooms per floor, all of similar dimensions. There is another ring with balconies not only to the inner courtyard, but also to the outside of the building. Due to the room openings in the apartments, there is a direct connection between the inner courtyard and the outside and thus allowing permeability for air, sight and movement. The building’s defining materials are the visible timber construction and hot dip galvanized steel. Both the pergola construction of the inner courtyard, including the railing mats for the parapets and partition walls, and the balcony construction of the outer ring of the building were hot dip galvanized.
Photos © José Hevia