Europan 11 San Bartolomé, Spain

Honorable Mention International competition 2012

The climate of San Bartolome is characterized by pronounced arid conditions, trade winds, and cold temperatures. Historically, the city has developed around farm roads, and houses typically have a rear garden that produces food for the residents. The site for the competition lies in a place of transition: between the urban and the natural environment.
We propose a new model for the community, different from traditional, individualistic patterns characteristic of terraced housing. By stacking and overlapping houses together, we achieved a higher density that generates an active community. Social life grows within a new, continuous urban space provided by covered streets.
The design for each unit arises from our investigation into the essential elements of a house. As a starting point, we proposed a minimum size for the dwelling that is capable of responding to different ways of inhabiting space. Each spatial unit is conceived as a container that uses a simple hinge system, which can transform the interior according to the daily needs of the inhabitants. Furthermore, a minimal depression inside each house allows for a common space that can be closed or further subdivided into smaller spaces for more privacy. The first floor always has a direct relationship with a courtyard, reengaging with the island’s tradition of cultivating gardens. The courtyards also protect from the wind and other environmental conditions. The second level has a separate access via stairs that enable multiple duplex typologies. While the actual dimensions of the units are tight, the flexibility imbedded in each of them allow for a multiplicity of dwelling conditions.

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