Carabanchel Social Housing

Carabanchel Social Housing, Madrid - Spain, Foreign Office Architects
Construction year: 2007
Address: Calle Tubas | MADRID | Spain
Latitude/Longitude: 40.371, -3.76394

Operating within a severely limited budget, the Carabanchel Social Housing project is 100 social housing units on the outskirts of Madrid. The development, within a regeneration area, is bounded by a new urban park on the west and on the north, east and south with similar housing blocks. Regulations set the number of units and the percentages of every size. The maximum height was also a constraint, but not the alignment within the rectangular plot. Given the adjacency to the future urban park and the North-South orientation of the site, our proposal is to compact the volume within the given height to provide a private garden for the units on the eastern side and to produce double aspect units facing both gardens. In order to achieve this, the units became elongated tubes that connect both façades.

Thanks to the compactness of the block, we succeeded in providing fully glazed façades for all the exterior surfaces. The façades have been lined with a 1.5m wide terrace which provides a semi-exterior buffer space enclosed with bamboo screens mounted on folding frames. The screens protect the glazed surfaces from the strong East-West solar exposure and are able to open to the side gardens when desired. Our target was to provide the maximum amount of units and their differences into a single volume with a homogeneous skin which is able to incorporate a gradation of possibilities. The primary architectural effect of the building is not dependent on the architects’ vision, but as an effect of the inhabitants choice, as if the façade was a register at any given moment of a cumulative effect of individuals choices.

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