16 social housing units in Guissona
The plot occupies the current limits of the city’s old town, geared towards crops. This project continues a previous assignment of our study, which consisted of closing with an existing block three existing housing buildings, leaving the interior as public equipment: a square.
The assignment came from the Contest EUROPAN III of 1994. The two elongated brick blocks that longitudinally frame the central space, of 16 houses each, form the first phase of this commission, completed in 1998.
The second phase, the third block of 16 ocher houses and the inner square are projected and built at the same time, between 2001 and 2004.
The decision of the promoter, the Institut Català del Sòl, has been very important, promoting the private space and the public that surrounds it at the same time. We believe that this decision is essential in order to be able to think continuously about the series of intermediate spaces that go from the interior of the house to the public space, being aware that it is not only about designing isolated housing buildings, but having a responsibility with the public space and the surrounding city.
This third building assumes the responsibility of organizing the transfer from the street to the square. In this way it takes the role of disappearing, of being a building-door, trying to make this transfer as natural as possible.
Thus, it proposes three transfers towards the interior of the block, two by the side and one by the middle, the latter through a patio and a passage.
The block has been designed from the outside inwards, through a gradation of scales. Given that it is located in an area of new growth -with a lower density and a very direct housing / street relationship, and without the variations of hierarchies in the public space that we find in the old town-, one of the concerns was working the project from the sequence between the most public-street environment, to the most intimate of the houses, trying to dissolve the boundary between the public and the private.
The entrance to the two halves in which the block is divided becomes a semi-public patio, from which a porch is accessed that where keys are then removed to open the door, leading to the vestibules of the stairs and from there, through a stairway that does not repeat its sections, to the interior of the houses. This access court is actually a way of crossing to the square in a more friendly way, with a space that is visually controlled from the houses, which encloses a first outdoor playground, halfway between the street and the interior. Then we find the space under the building, which is a door to the square and also a covered place for play during rainy days.
The houses are located so that they all enjoy the sun of the south. For this a terrace has been designed that connects the kitchen with the dining room and the living room, so as to generate a double circulation in the house around the cycle of food. Another proposal in the distribution is the laundry connected to the bathroom and the cycle of the daily cleaning, and that all the rooms have natural light during the day with the consequent saving of energy that this supposes.
The interior public space (Plaza de la Segarra) is conceived from the crossings and paths that people could do in this place, on their routes from the historical center to the new Passeig de Fluvià park. So the square organizes a diagonal crossing by joining these two points, and starting the space in two halves, one for children of ten to fifteen years, with a sports court and stands, and two courts of basketball. The other half is intended for younger children, where there is a sandbox, some swings and some “hula-hoops”, circles and metal bars to sit and hang around.
As La Segarra is a very dry geographic area, the interior responds to this situation, reducing the lawn or small vegetation in favor of trees that make good shade and that resist the weather well.
Therefore, the rest of the square is based on small slopes and low concrete walls in situ, which can be benches and that approach and close several areas of play. These low walls have as a model the cultivation walls that are seen by La Segarra when reaching this site, which organize the different fields and at the same time give a unity to the landscape.
|Programme:||16 homes of about 70sqm each|
|Promoter:||Institut Català del Sòl (Public Administration)|
|Architects:||Flores & Prats Archs, Ricardo Flores and Eva Prats|
|Structural Adviser:||Miquel Colomer|
|Installations Adviser:||Bernat Alonso|
|Collaborators:||Ma. Eugenia Troncoso, Guido Fiszson, José Bauer, Israel Hernando, Paula Ávila, Tanja Dietsch, Aljona Lissek, Claire Palluel|
|Photography:||Rosa & Bleda, Jordi Bernadó|
|Location:||Calle Sant Pol 15/17, Guissona, La Segarra, Lleida|
|Date of the Project:||2001 – 2002|
|Date of Construction:||June 2002 – June 2004|