Sta. Cristina

Promoter: Institut Català del Sol

Area: 2.088,83 m2

Location: Sta. Cristina d’Aro, Girona

Budget: 1.530.000 €

Date: 2007 – 2009

1st Prize in the competition for 40 subsidised housing units.

The project develops the winning proposal of a public competition. The initial premises were the construction of 40 homes in two buildings, block 1 with 18 homes for rent and block 2 with 22 homes for sale.

The two buildings are located within a new area of population growth without buildings but aligning with a 12 meter wide street with buildings on the other side. The first problem to solve was the important urban presence that the built complex would have given the strict urban parameters that had to be met. In addition to the narrow street of the main façade, the blocks have a height of GF + 2 and a total length of 140 meters between them, which gives a very horizontal proportion to the perspective of the street. We opted for a compositional and construction system that would resolve, on the one hand, this strong horizontal presence of the volumes and, on the other, the need to reduce the execution time by having a fast and efficient construction system.

The façade was modulated in such a way that it could be resolved with vertical panels one metre wide, leaving empty spaces to be filled by the windows and balconies. This vertical rhythm of opaque parts and glazed parts surprisingly reduced the strong horizontal presence of the whole, offering a friendlier perspective. This discovery was the guideline for planning the construction system using prefabricated reinforced concrete panels. The fact that all the pieces were made in one metre long pieces meant that, on the one hand, the moulds were very simple and could be reused by simply moving the partition at one end to adapt the height and, on the other hand, they could be manufactured and stored from the start of the work. The installation began with the end of the structure and was completed by cutting the initial plan.

The two buildings have a north-south orientation. The main body has a width of 10 metres, which allows for the placement of pass-through dwellings with ventilation on both façades. On the ground floor the occupation is greater and is used to put the car park, shop and 2 more dwellings in block 1, while block 2 has 6 dwellings and shop as the car park is in the basement. The roof of this ground floor block is used as a communal recreational area, treated with soft rubber paving and giving it a slight slope to half of the surface to allow children to play or lie down to sunbathe protected from the north wind, the tramontana.

Block 2 are 3-bedroom homes for sale and purchase. The 10 meter wide distribution made it advisable to group them into staircases with 2 apartments per landing, orienting the 3 bedrooms to the north and the living room and kitchen to the south. This position allows the creation of a terrace to the south with sufficient dimensions to place a table, making it possible, at the same time, to have circulation around the kitchen and living room. The clotheslines are placed in a gate that overlooks this terrace. In this building, access to the community recreation area on the first floor is from the landing of the residents’ stairs of each nucleus.

The appearance of the buildings with the rhythmically cut façade panels makes the neighbours in the area call them “les cases trencades”.