‘Accessible, not speculative’: Barcelona housing co-op wins architecture award | Barcelona

A Barcelona housing co-operative that experienced been in existence fewer than a yr when Spain imposed one of Europe’s hardest lockdowns has won a prestigious architecture award after its design of neighborhood living thrived for the duration of the pandemic.

The wood-framed La Borda plan of 28 residences and many shared spaces has won the prestigious Mies van der Rohe prize for emerging architecture for a undertaking that the awards committee explained as “a transgressive … design centered on co-possession and co-administration of shared resources and capacities”.

The occupants experienced been there scarcely a year when lockdown arrived, which was when the communal plan of the developing really arrived into its individual, suggests Cristina Gamboa, a foremost figure in the discipline of sustainability who, with Pol Massoni, was the principal architect.

After it turned obvious that none of the occupants had Covid it was feasible to make use of the shared spaces – which include a kitchen area-dining area, laundry, multipurpose place, guest rooms as effectively as a patio, bicycle parking and terraces – to minimise the form of isolation experienced by persons in more common housing.

Shared areas contain a kitchen area-dining space, laundry, multipurpose room, visitor rooms as effectively as a patio, bike parking and terraces. Photograph: lvaro Valdecanto

“It was a privilege to stay by way of Covid in this article,” Gamboa claims. “It showed that these spaces let for the type of interaction that wouldn’t be doable in a common apartment block. For instance, the visitor rooms couldn’t be utilized because no one was travelling so they turned do the job spaces.”

Contrary to the experiments in communal residing in London squats this kind of as St Agnes Location and Villa Road in the 1980s and 90s, which have been carried out in family members houses, La Borda is intended with the collective in mind.

Since Covid limits were being lifted, each and every Wednesday about two-thirds of the occupants have been conference for dinner in the communal dining room.

“La Borda is exemplary in phrases of style for residence-based mostly do the job, a rare thing in social housing,” states Frances Holliss, architect and writer of Further than Live/Do the job: the Architecture of Household-primarily based Get the job done. “Homes can be expanded to consist of a workspace – on a distinctive ground, if desired. The setting up is designed at every transform to increase social interactions and develop group, which cuts down social isolation – the bane of the residence-primarily based employee.”

The La Borda undertaking emerged from a regional marketing campaign to reclaim the deserted industrial advanced at Can Batlló in the Sants area of the metropolis for use by the community, which in turned spawned Lacol, a collective of younger architects intrigued in creating participative projects.

Impressed by housing schemes in Denmark and Uruguay, as perfectly as figures from the 1970s this kind of as the Belgian architect Lucien Kroll, Gamboa and her colleagues at Lacol ended up enthusiastic by a few concepts: sustainability, participation and community.

The timber construction allows the flats to be adaptable while also improving insulation and minimising environmental impact.
The timber building lets the flats to be adaptable when also improving insulation and minimising environmental impact. Photograph: see information fields

“Our model is for accessible, not speculative housing, but we also needed to generate a little something uncomplicated to replicate, not a shut community,” suggests Gamboa, who lives in the making.

The layout, with its substantial interior patio and mild perfectly, harks back again to the “corral” thought widespread in Madrid and southern Spain, where the central house serves as both a conference location and all-natural air conditioning.

The timber development permits the flats to be adaptable while also increasing insulation and minimising environmental influence.

“It’s a passive building with active contributors,” Gamboa says.

Co-op users, who assortment from individuals in their 20s to retirees, really do not own their flats, nor can they offer or pass them on. Hire and living expenses are about 30-35% underneath current market costs.

Photo voltaic panels source electricity to communal locations when a shared laundry retains costs reduce and frees up residing space.

Future associates fork out a refundable payment of €18,500 (£15,485) but with 50 men and women already on the ready record, Gamboa says the only option is to construct far more.

Only 1.5% of Barcelona’s housing stock is public and the relaxation is increasingly out of arrive at of most pockets, particularly the younger, with the result that all over 80% of 18- to 30-year-olds however are living with their mothers and fathers.

Gamboa claims successful the Mies van der Rohe award was a shock, including that “it’s wonderful to see other techniques of accomplishing architecture getting recognition”.

Some of the €20,000 prize money will go toward a celebratory dinner for the occupants and many others concerned in bringing the undertaking to fruition.