Patrícia Martínez + Natasha Menorca Papallones i Pedres

Source: Patrícia Martínez + Natasha MenorcaSchool: Escola Tècnica Superior d'Arquitectura de Barcelona (ETSAB-UPC)Studio: Xavier Ros (Habitatge i Ciutat)Location: Sant Genís dels Agudells, Barcelona, SpainYear: 2022 - 2023
Date: September 12, 2023 Category: Academic

When visiting Sant Genís dels Agudells neighborhood, it seemed like it had been forgotten, its splendor called for a resurface, even though it was drowning in its process. The site was just there, not useful or resourceful, with no connection to the rest, plus a fair amount of unevenness of the terrain. Nevertheless, it had delitescent potential and it was an unexplored site, a place where nature wanted in some way to manifest itself. More so, the site was close to the Vall d’Hebron hospital, which can imply it to be a residential zone for the users and workers of the hospital, even for people that are not comfortable living in the middle of the city. At the same time, those residents need a welcoming, as well as modern and functional place to come home to, in addition to opening the possibility of connecting with nature.

One of the most challenging aspects of the project was: ¿How can we manage to take advantage of the unevenness of the site’s terrain, and at the same time project dwellings responding to our current necessities? With this aspect in mind, another question came up: ¿What if the solution lies in the challenge itself? The DNA of the project should be to use the terrain slope as leverage to forge the project’s structure, meaning using the abundance of terrain to construct walls of rammed earth to promote a sustainable way of living.

To be able to use the slope, the project takes a head start from the street above to access said dwellings, through an entrance that gives off the sensation of entering into a subterranean living space full of life and colour. The proposal takes advantage of the decks to relocate the green spaces of all the occupied space, while at the same time integrate ourselves in nature (and the other way round) adding more privacy as well as shelter from the heat.The living space is planned to be distributed throughout different levels that will descend parallel to the covers. Every level will have different spaces combining common parts alongside with private parts, meaning that the project’s geometry allows intimacy as well as
social interaction. This will also be influenced by the lighting which will create various sensations that contrast with the shadows, plus generate warmth throughout the whole ensemble.The geometry also allows the interior to be ventilated to refresh all of it if needed.

We are recurring, then, to a primitive architecture that enables us to bring out the beauty of a simple way of building without giving up the comforts of the modern ways, where the own natural resources give solutions to a way of living that connects ourselves with our essence, with nature, which makes our surroundings simple, balanced, beautiful.

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