Family houses


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Social housing building in Can Batlló


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The central courtyard of this interesting residential building, situated next to what was once the emblematic Can Batlló textile factory, constitutes the main element of the project, regulating the building’s temperature and acting as the epicentre of communal activities.

The Can Batlló residential building emerged from a public competition called by Barcelona’s Municipal Housing Agency (PMHB, for its initials in Catalan) on a residual site bordering on the old textile factory of Can Batlló, in the heart of the Sants district and listed as being of public interest. The site has three façades opening on to very different urban conditioning factors.
The slogan for the competition was “opening up pathways”, which pointed to the idea of a built shell of differing heights according to each street’s height regulation, on an interior central empty space. This initial approach led to exploring the benefits of a light well, not only as an element that provides light and ventilation but also as an instrument to connect the building. The light well operates as a climatic machine, with highly favourable results in the building’s bioclimatic performance.
According to the operational scheme, a new way of understanding the internal structure of the homes was articulated, configuring a ring of services around the light well: server spaces located in the inner crown and the flexible served spaces giving on to the external façade.
The building’s skin adapts to each façade in order to achieve the best visual fit. Hence the light splintering in the façade plane, its lack of orthogonality and the break in the geometric order of the partition walls.
The formal order arises from the centrality of the light well which, as well as being the space leading to the flats, becomes the eye opening to the sky, letting in both night and day, winter and summer; the funnel that gobbles up everything that happens on the outside and the trumpet that expels everything harmful that happens inside, all of this thanks to the air current it produces.
The building maintains a generous space at street level, providing a porch that shelters the entrance to the garage and enlarges the pedestrian access to Can Batlló park. The façade treatment emphasises this: white and luminous with vertical perforations on the floors of the flats and dark grey in the corrugated sheeting on the ground-floor line. The building floats thanks to the double colour contrast.

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Localización Location: Barcelona. Spain. Arquitecto Architect: Espinet/Ubach Arquitectes | Miquel Espinet, Antoni Ubach. Arquitecto asociado Associate architect: Pedro Ondoño. Arquitecta jefe de proyecto Head architect for the project: Berta Grau. Equipo redactor proyecto Project draft team: Marta Longo, Miquel Miralles. Dirección de ejecución Execution management: Ardèvol Associats. Arquitecto técnico Quantity surveyor: Enric Iturbe. Estructuras Structures: Bis Arquitectes, Àrea 5. Ingeniería Enginnering: Josep Ma Delmuns, Josep Zaldívar. Promotor Developer: Patronat Municipal d’Habitatge de Barcelona (PMHB). Arquitecto PMHB PMHB architect: Daniel López. Constructora General Contractor: Cartuja Inmobiliaria, S.A.U. Superficie Area: 3.949m2. Fecha de finalización de la obra Completion date of the works: 2017. Fotografía Photography: Pedro Pegenaute.
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Fachada: Sistema de aislamiento térmico por el exterior con revoco final NanopoTop: Baumit
Miquel Espinet Mestre
Antoni Ubach i Nuet
Espinet / Ubach Arquitectes i Associats
Pedro Pegenaute