Jerez de la Frontera. Cdiz

112 social apartments

M m m m m m m m
Project Description


When the buildings meet the limits of the city they frequently face an inhospitable landscape. Outside the boundaries of the regulated urban space these waste lands do not invite to inhabit them. Some kind of communal habitable landscape must be created inside residential buildings.


The design of collective housing is very often conditioned by geometrical efficiency criteria. That means that the rate between the total gross floor area and the private usable floor area must be the minimum to achieve the financial objectives of promoters. They only sell private square meters. The rest is a kind of waste.


In our collective housing projects we constantly try to give the greater prominence to the intermediate spaces, those where people meet outside by their houses, those so present in Mediterranean domestic tradition. Struggling against the usual strict budget conditions that penalize non-private square meters, we try to convert mere circulation spaces into porches, patios, wide corridors and shared terraces.


The climate in Jerez make this aim fruitful: this kind of intermediate outdoor shared spaces by the dwellings can be used as their extension. The usual way of living in Western societies uses to promote privacy. Meanwhile we loose the chance to find the place for children collective play, for neighbours meetings, for reading outside, for unexpected personal interaction, etc. As opposed to this, in this project we offer a sequence of porches, plazas, patios, streets, corridors and tiny gardens that build a kind of inner city, big enough to hold communal activities but almost invisible from the anodyne surroundings of the city limit beyond.


In the periphery, the city dilutes and the dialogue between private buildings and public space turns vague and ambiguous. Outdoor become the wilderness and buildings need to hold the communal activities and encounters. As a result, the design strategy is to make residential buildings more porous, blurring the boundaries between public and private in their interiors, transmuting them into small towns, which appear like fortresses in front of an indecipherable landscape.


This has some implications in the way we conceive the concept of “house”. As opposed of the house understood as a haven (which means privacy above all) or the house intended to be a machine for living (which means efficiency), this kind of interior cities as the one we propose in the housing at Jerez claim for co-responsibility: oversized communal spaces need a shared attitude in relation with their use and maintenance. It is the small town with its own small codes.