42 collaborative housing apartments and common areas
En Torno al Vergel–Around the Garden–is a social housing project gently situated in an empty plot surrounding a well known restaurant, amidst older housing projects legibly within the bar and point tower typologies of the sixties, adjacent to an area of sprawling industrial warehouses, and near to the grounds of the Seville Fair which erupts into life the first week in May.
As a building which hugs the perimeter of a city block distributed across three terracing volumes, the ambition is to reconfigure the constraints of social housing. Loggias, which are both pathways and extensions of private domesticity, become the most granular scale of community. Through rad- ical porosity the project opens public spaces at the intersection of building volumes as nodes for co-creation at every floor level. These spaces of encounter are dimensioned to encourage community appropriation and suggest an array of mobile and temporal activity without strictly predefining a use.
The project establishes a place for the neighborhood in the ground floor courtyard, through a mixed-use permeable membrane where the urban scale of large industrial lots and social housing mega-projects are modulated to support a human scale of activity. The ground floor exploits the transparency of commercial space and living-atelier units, to draw the public through its perimeter into the operative garden of the inner courtyard as a site for broad community engagement. Here, the neighborhood has a condenser to gather local actors and offer a place for meetings, screenings, markets, parties, playdates, and activism.
The terracing roof, on the other hand, is a landscape of coexistence for birds, insects, native plants, and other migratory species who may find a micro-habitat within the greater urban ecosys- tem of Seville. As the project is structurally designed for the transmutability of unpredictable futures, the added load of earth and water collection systems on the roof is well supported to accommodate small trees and temporal structures.
The economy of social housing is achieved in the modularity of construction, while exerting precision over the longevity of materials. The project is conceived as a piece of infrastructure for families in flux, for changing models of living, for eventual vacancy and repurposing. While the structure is designed to withstand decades of change, the units are prefabricated from mass timber elements which adapt to generations. Opportunities for finishes which express individuality and shift with taste are allocated within the framework of a cohesive building. The notion of quality is described through generosity of space and adaptability to time, for a building which is conceived as a community that creates a neighborhood around it.