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Sumit Singhal
Sumit Singhal
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.

Centcelles Social Housing in Tarragona, Spain by Aguilera | Guerrero Architects

January 10th, 2013 by Sumit Singhal

Article source: Aguilera | Guerrero Architects

The residential Centcelles, is built on a plot flanked by a network of houses and the N240 road that runs through the neighborhood of Sant Salvador. Three actions are carried out in three distinct phases, temporary and project. The two first actions make up the perimeter of the irregular quadrilateral of the plot and are very different from the formal point of view ‐ volume.

Image Courtesy © PEPO SEGURA

  • Architects: Aguilera | Guerrero Architects
  • Project: Centcelles Social Housing
  • Location: Tarragona, Spain
  • Photography: PEPO SEGURA
  • Use: Residential
  • Site area: 1.507,00 m2
  • Structure: Concrete
  • Completion Year : 2010
  • Project team: ANTON ARMENGOL TUA
  • Contractor: GULINVES S.L.

Image Courtesy © PEPO SEGURA

The building under consideration belongs to the last stage and closes the theoretical city block, running out of buildable and occupation allowed by the planning and surplus of the previous actions.

Image Courtesy © PEPO SEGURA

From the beginning, the reflections on the architectural solution have sought to establish a unique agreement between the existing topography and the built environment. A perusal of the PLACE, topography, orientation, views, urban void, alignments, volumes and compositions, … etc. have given us the initial outlines for the formal definition of the project, which its privileged position we always thought it should exercise of ARTICULATOR of the place and therefore, be a resounding piece that tried to reconcile the relationship between the built volumes and their environment.

Image Courtesy © PEPO SEGURA

The visual relationships between the object and the observer must allow establishing a set of volumes able to blur the distinction between the parts and their relationship with the existing urban scene. A network of relationships that help us give some “formal legality” to the project it’s constructed.

Image Courtesy © PEPO SEGURA

The new building is withdrawn from the curved perimeter of the site, is grouped in the center in an “L” shape, takes different heights forming a coherent plastic figure, is ordered as background of the public space that is generated and provides visual continuity with the environment.

Image Courtesy © PEPO SEGURA

The site topography also becomes hinge mechanisms, providing different inputs to each level and merging the building with the place. The shops on the ground floor acts as a foundation on which rests or “poses” the building and highlight the
public nature of the space generated ahead.

Image Courtesy © PEPO SEGURA

The passage of the abstract form, the result of reflection projection, to the built form, the result of the physical presence of the materials, is what ultimately gives the visual quality of the building which specifies and singles out when we subject it to the requirements of their own realization and construction.

Image Courtesy © PEPO SEGURA

That plastic figure materializes in a continuous skin which guarantees a clear and unified view the building, but that specializes to serving the diverse situations of the building program and housing. Finally, the skin is cut and disappears, open to the best views and orientations, leaving visible its interior, this space wrapped, solidified and materialized, where are drawn some modulated serials overtures of housing.

Image Courtesy AGUILERA | GUERRERO Architects

The multiple relationships that interact with the architectural object implicitly ordered and organized a standard program inside, Social Housing, quite strict in its dimensional and programmatic definition. The system of organization adopted solves uniformly the social housing program with three bedrooms, allowing the composition of the different units from repeating parts of fixed dimensions (living room, bedroom and bathroom).

Image Courtesy AGUILERA | GUERRERO Architects



The main researcher target that we proposed in this project was constructively materialize that we have called skin when define the formality of the architectural object. A skin, continuous and specialist, able to provide the required technical quality and the formal quality projected. As an isolated building, the solution should respond satisfactorily to all orientations.

Image Courtesy AGUILERA | GUERRERO Architects

We thought held together in the same building solution the versatility and variety of materials that provides a ventilated façade, with the increasing of the thermal inertia and saving insulating layer provided by a facade of thermo brick throughout the set.

The materialization of the skin required a texture element to be able to allow some permeability and outdoor view without apparent joints and finally with polychromatic characteristics that produce different optical effects depending on the viewing angle and the incidence of the sun and obviously waterproof serve.

Image Courtesy AGUILERA | GUERRERO Architects

The inner bearing leaf, not only had to take the support functions of the substructure of the outer sheet but have a high degree of inertia and thermal insulation. This was achieved through a ceramic thermo brick cladding, which allowed us to save part of insulation required in other solutions with ventilated façade and furthermore we achieved having a common basis closure throughout the building, only with differences in the thickness of the base part according to its position and orientation. Indirectly we were introducing a degree of prefabrication and industrialization in some constructive solutions within strict budgetary framework for promotion of housing.

Image Courtesy AGUILERA | GUERRERO Architects

The end result is a double façade solution, on one hand for the overall building skin finishing with an airy metal color panel, thermo brick 24 inner sheet and an insulating layer of 30mm, and secondly, a ceramic cladding for areas where the first disappears for formal reasons, a single-layer cladding with thermo brick 29 stucco cladding. In addition, this part of facade lags the perimeter defined by the metal skin with a double technical and compositional objective.

The technical objective is to provoke a plane shadow on itself that protect us in the aspect sunniest south / southwest.

The compositional aim, to show the wrapped space, the empty space that solidifies into material, In Oteiza’s words:
“ la definición de vacíos por desocupación del espacio ” _ (the definition of empty for unemployment of space)

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Categories: Building, House, Residential

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