Sumit Singhal loves modern architecture. He comes from a family of builders who have built more than 20 projects in the last ten years near Delhi in India. He has recently started writing about the architectural projects that catch his imagination.
242 Social Housing Units in Salburúa, Spain by ACXT
April 27th, 2012 by Sumit Singhal
Article source: ACXT
Development of 242 dwellings in the Salburua neighbourhood in Vitoria-Gasteiz.
The plot, in accordance with the criteria established by the town planning, is occupied by a 21 storey-high tower and a continuous U-shaped block with a varying height between four and seven floors. All the front gates of the development are on the ground floor, as well as nine retail units. The two basement floors occupy the whole plot and house the garage, the box-rooms and technical rooms and the rest of the surface is used for council housing.
The building is designed from a rationale of energy saving and economy of means, following the criteria established by the developer. Town planning gave us a certain leeway as regards to the height of the building, which was used to achieve the maximum exposure to sunlight of the patios and the façades that look over it by limiting the maximum height of the building located to the south.
The dwellings are double fronted, the bedrooms being on the façade that looks over the garden patio, whilst the kitchen and living areas face the street. Thus, the public area of the house is linked with its urban equivalent, and the more private one destined for rest, is linked with the inner courtyard as a space of peace and quiet.
Given the view from the rest of the towers of the roof of the lowest block of the building, an important effort was made to treat its appearance with care, considering it, without a doubt, as the building’s fifth façade. For that purpose, all buildings services are grouped around the central axis of the building and are ventilated through a continuous ventilation grille, thus avoiding the presence of rooftop typical chimneys.
As regards to the proposed typology, how space is dealt with is worth noting. It is as if we were dealing with an open and free space, its centre occupied by a cluster of rooms with plumbing in them, all served by a single shaft, which is painted black, educationally showing how the building services work and, at the same time, offering a perception of a unique space crossed by light from one façade to another.
Apart from the typical building services of a block of flats, the installation of a cogeneration system complementary to the conventional thermal production of a central heating boiler with individual management is worth mentioning. This system covers part of the hot water and heating needs of the building whilst producing electricity to sell.
The cogeneration unit consumes natural gas to generate 70 KW of electricity and 109 KW of thermal power in the same process, by making the most of the heat generated during the cooling of the motor and exhaust fumes. That implies a considerable reduction of CO2 emissions to the atmosphere and, furthermore, the fact of producing and managing its own energy allows, in turn, for a considerable saving in the electricity bill of the users.
The decisions regarding the image that we put forward for the building were conditioned by the proposed idea to build five towers on Salburua Avenue as a town planning landmark and as an answer to its intention of identifying different areas of the city in its expansion process. In this case, not churches but council subsidized houses rise above the skyline of the city, an expression of the creed of the society of welfare and its commitment with citizenship’s right to a decent home, regardless of the economic level of the people who live in them.
The building we are showing occupies the central position of these five towers and it signifies “a milestone within the milestone” which, with its red colour, intends to express optimism, confidence and commitment with the future in a mainly grey social and architectonic frame.
Development of 242 affordable units located in the expansion area to the east of Vitoria-Gasteiz, specifically in Sector 11, plot M3, Salburua.
The building consists of a 20-storey tower in the south-west and a continuous U-shaped block, of 4 to 7 floors, covering alignments west, north and east of the plot. Entrances to the flats and the 9 premises are located on the ground floor ; the garages, the storage rooms and the tower´s technical rooms are located on the two basements,; additional storage rooms of the dwellings are located in the attic. .
The houses are built with a view to offering excellent living conditions, being energy efficient, and economizing the common areas, giving priority to double orientations and offering the best views of the environment.
In the interior, development is proposed to maintain the spirit of continuous green area plan (the linear park), so that the courtyard is perceived as an expansion of urban space instead of an enclosure.
ACXT, an architecture services provider, started off as a society of professionals who came together with the aim of offering a quality alternative within the field of architecture, becoming a valid option for the professional development of architects interested in high level architecture. Its philosophy marks the creation of a professional framework of collaboration and avail of its members’ synergies, always from a full understanding of architecture: both technically and culturally.
The philosophy that guides ACXT is based on the respect for traditional values, still in force today, generated during the secular practice of architecture. ACXT is committed to signature architecture, understood in terms of respect for the creative values that architects, with a clear customer orientated practice, have historically contributed throughout the whole intellectual and constructive process. ACXT aims to offer a quality solution to the huge social credit that the practice of architecture implies in its double commercial and cultural dimension.
ACXT-IDOM has become the largest provider of professional services to architecture in Spain and one of the most relevant worldwide. In the January 2012 edition of the BD World Architecture’s Annual Survey, a British publication that gathers the hundred most important architecture firms worldwide, ACXT-IDOM was ranked number 48.
Category: Housing Development