Affordable housing in La Floresta, Sant Cugat del Vallès

La Floresta, Sant Cugat del Vallès, Barcelona

3rd prize, competition 2023

Competition launched by Promusa

Built Area: 3.024,39 m²

The proposal aims to achieve two objectives: to integrate a multi-family building into a low-density area bordering the natural park and to provide comfort and quality in homes located on a north-facing a significant slope.

To achieve this, the decision is made to distribute the construction into three strips oriented along the slope, preserving open areas between blocks, minimizing the ground footprint, and ensuring permeability across the site. The three housing strips are staggered to adapt to the existing topography and reduce their impact on the surroundings.

A total of 33 through apartments are designed, with 1, 2, and 3-bedroom typologies that follow a consistent internal configuration defined by programmatic strips. The apartments are arranged successively in each block, combining the different typologies. The longitudinal strips address privacy gradients, with the narrower ones, corresponding to the gallery and the wet core, serving as filters between spaces of different types. The gallery is proposed as a mechanism to ensure privacy in a type of housing with access through a corridor, while the combination of these two elements allows for the extension of the living space into the forest.

All typologies are pass-through, with the main living area open to the exterior, and they prioritize maximum rationalization of the spaces, avoiding interior circulation areas.

The organization of the interior spaces of the apartments responds to solar orientation: the gallery, where access takes place, is located in the foreground. The living room, kitchen, and dining room are combined into a single space, expanding slightly in the 2 and 3-bedroom typologies. The kitchen’s layout allows for its transformation and adaptation to the varying needs of the household units. In the central strip of the floors, freeing up the facades, the wet cores are located. The bedrooms are distributed on the northeast facade, all of the same size and separated from the common areas by the wet strip, thus creating a clear gradient of privacy.

These strategies adapt the typology to various models of living units. The indeterminacy of the spaces, the pass-through typology, and the lightweight interior partitions also offer the possibility of flexible appropriation of the spaces, which is necessary to accommodate the changing needs of the residents. Moreover, the dehierarchization of spaces and the visibility of domestic task areas promote gender-equal relationships without conditioning gender roles.

A modular and serial approach is adopted for all structural and constructive elements to ensure their prefabrication and nearly dry construction throughout the building. A wood structural system is chosen, combining various solutions to meet various requirements with maximum efficiency and resource economy, always ensuring the lightness of the ensemble.

Bioclimatic strategies are prioritized to ensure comfort in homes that can function passively 90% of the time. In winter, the orientation and position of the blocks and the gallery allow for direct and indirect solar gain thanks to the greenhouse effect. The gallery, in addition to functioning as a buffer space, enables passive preheating of ventilation air. In summer, this gallery can be opened up to 80%, serving as a sunshade. The security closure with vertical slats serves as solar protection, along with the eave and the climbing vegetation on the corridor.

All of these strategies, along with the choice of a construction system with a low ecological footprint and the use of renewable, recycled, recyclable, and healthy materials, contribute substantially to reducing the life cycle impact of the building in all its phases.