With the almost exponential growth of cities and population, social housing has become a case study for many governments around the world, who look into the viability of these projects as an alternative for their countries. When we talk about social housing or public housing projects, we are no longer talking about simple concrete blocks as we used to do in the past. Public housing solutions today compete to offer distinctive and high quality designs, which not also provides families or individuals with few household resources, but also incorporates eco-friendly and energy-efficient designs to excel in the architectural world. For that reason, some of these houses have prizes or awards in this field in different countries of the world.
Due to their architectural quality and innovation, these types of projects are a direct reference for our participants in each edition of the Master in Collective Housing. We invite you to learn a little bit more about these interesting social housing projects that have been developed by leading architects worldwide.
The local architectural studio Jakob + Macfarlane had to cope with a rather complicated environment, especially because of restrictions on construction, land rules and tree preservation. However, the Herold Paris housing project was finally completed in 2008 with a total of 100 individual apartments connected by a network of roads, and structured in three different blocks. In addition, these blocks are heated by solar energy. The project includes also commercial areas and floors suitable for people in wheelchairs.
The Tetris apartments in Ljubljana, so called because of their irregular shape, designed by OFIS Architects, are further proof that public housing can incorporate extravagant designs and quality materials without exceeding costs. In this case, the building is specially designed to ensure the privacy and spatial needs of the occupants, allowing them to change those walls that are not structural. The building was completed in 2007 and as it is close to a road, the balconies are oriented in such a way, that the inhabitants of the buildings are not visible and from the road. This design also helps to isolate them from the traffic noise.
Designed to look like a greenhouse, Lacaton & Vassal's project uses elements such as galvanized steel, transparent polycarbonate and natural aluminium to create duplexes with simple, economic and efficient structures. The floors based on the loft principle seek to integrate the maximum space at an affordable price for the families that live in them. The firm Lacaton & Vassal is co-led by MCH professor Anne Lacaton.
This project, developed by the Chilean Office ELEMENTAL, won the prize for best design in 2011 thanks to its idea that people living on this site, could modify the housing units thanks to concrete blocks. Only certain parts such as the kitchen or bathrooms are given fully built. In this way, the space can be modified and expanded over time. It can be adapted to the people's needs and economical possibilities of each family. ELEMENTAL is directed by Alejandro Aravena, workshop leader at the MCH in past editions.
With a very colorful facade and all its curious elements, the project Pearcedale Parade was founded by an NGO focusing in providing housing for families without resources. In addition to its colors, the 88 units building is characterized by solar panels that provide hot water and heating. In this case, the main goal was to offer a dignified place to families without resources, so it has become a symbol of solidarity.
The Master of Advanced Studies in Collective Housing is a professional and international postgraduate programme that is developed on a full-time basis, dealing with advanced architectural design in the city and housing. It is designed and taught jointly by the Polytechnic University of Madrid (UPM) and the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology Zurich (ETH).