Social housing is one of the most significant and difficult challenges for architects today. At this time of global crisis, collective housing buildings can help to stabilize and restore the confidence that seems to have been lost in many sectors of society. In this context, architecture can play a decisive role in addressing our need to trust and count on neighbours, and therefore in creating a community that can support us in time of need.
This building for 111 social dwellings is situated in the outskirts of Barcelona, facing an area of natural landscape and pine trees parks. The project organizes the 111 dwellings around a central courtyard, with the aim to create a neighborhood which acts as a community. This communal patio is a platform for social gatherings, inviting people from a wide variety of backgrounds and cultures to relate and socialize. This neighborhood represents for them the first social structure within society, helping to revert the actual tendency towards isolation and individuality.
The patio contains three trees, some benches and a fountain, serving as the main entry open air vestibule to the houses. The journey from the street to the houses is modulated by a sequence of scales, progressively moving from the most open and public spaces at the street to the intimacy and privacy of the home. From one end to the other, from the bedroom to the street, the route is constantly varied. Family greetings intermingle with those of their neighbors in the patio, making the space an extension of the “hearth”, somewhere friends and acquaintances can share their daily lives in a second circle of intimacy.