Madrid Public Housing

Madrid Public Housing, Madrid - Spain, Morphosis
Address: Calle del Patrimonio de la Humanidad 2 | MADRID | Spain
Latitude/Longitude: 40.3609, -3.75711

In a suburban Madrid neighborhood of conventional, anonymous housing blocks, we devised a typology of porosity to suit the social ideals of this project type. As an alternative to towering blocks of faceless units, this project explores a radically different social model that integrates landscape and village topologies. By grafting properties commonly found in detached villas onto this low-income housing project we achieved a multi-family living complex with amenities such as loggias, green spaces, and domestically scaled massing that are not normally found in public housing in Spain.

A layer of landscape overlaid upon a façade composed of a series of open spaces and idiosyncratic punctures combine to break down the institutional nature of the public housing project. The basic parti is an extruded “J”: a low-rise “village” building, flanked by a tall, slender bar to the North and a lower multi-level bar building to the South. Open spaces occur on three different scales: small, domestic patios inside the individual residential units, mid-sized public courtyards that punctuate the low residential structure, and the large, communal, landscaped space, the paseo. The landscaped lattice folds up vertically; like a carpet; plant growth covers the flat village and climbs up the taller buildings creating an idyllic refuge from the urban surroundings. The paseo, shaded by trees and a vegetation-covered trellis, takes the place of a conventional interior lobby.

This idyllic design brings open green space to a dense urban milieu. The idiosyncratic topology creates a community-oriented social fabric and challenges the prevalent urban social order.

⇒ Architecture Guide to MADRID