55 public affordable housing at Torrent

55 public affordable housing Competition at Torrent, Valencia, Spain.
moarqs with Sofía Cacchione and ARACIL & FLORES ARQUITECTOS S.L.P
Project: Ignacio Montaldo, Sofía Cacchione, José María Flores Moreno, Antonio Aracil.
Project team: Nicolás Podestá, Candela Mursi, Blas Rowe, Catalina Ugarte, Celeste Moschen.

The new building for affordable rental housing is inserted in an open position in the Benisaet sector in Torrent, as it constitutes the end piece of the sector’s backbone pedestrian axis, and volumetrically defines the interior free space of the block delimited by Maestro streets Sosa, Artisans and Barranc. Although the potential of the building consists in its condition for the construction of the limit and northern façade of the urban fabric that falls to the ravine and the fast track that collects the metropolitan traffic of Valencia.
The piece constitutes a simple prismatic volume (dimensions on plan: 20×72 m, and six levels) where the voids acquire as important a relevance as what is built, revealing itself as the fundamental part of the proposal. This configuration of voids determines the functional organization and clearly differentiates it from the environment, emphasizing its character as a public building. These voids are interconnected offering a rich spatial continuity that structures and relates all levels, and expand unlimited visuals in the public and private realm.
The ground floor is freed from built bodies as much as possible, with a predominance of an empty horizontal space that acquires the quality of a viewpoint towards the ravine due to the unevenness generated with respect to Barranc street, and which offers transparency and visual expansion from the square and garden inside the the block —a space that, depending on the planned buildings, would be very constrained. This operation offers a considerable environmental improvement of the immediate public space. On this level are the main vehicle and pedestrian accesses —communicated by means of a ramp by raising the level with respect to the sidewalk—, the accesses to the vertical communication nuclei, the property management office, two installation rooms adjacent to the access ramp to the garage, and a central garden that constitutes a previous filter to the public space, and also visual and environmental reference from the upper levels.
The volume of the building is traversed by an interior central vertical void characterized by circulation spaces and community exterior rooms that cross it, having the garden on the ground floor at its base. In turn, it is the space that makes it possible to improve the habitability conditions and thermal behavior of the houses by allowing double orientation.
On the first floors, the volume is emptied by the arrangement of the private terraces, which extend the communal terrace spaces from the central void. In addition, the entire perimeter of the volume is dematerialized by having a flight that, as a continuous balcony, connects with the terrace-gardens of the houses. This perimeter is also characterized by a system of adjustable and retractable aluminum slat blinds that, as a filter, allows fine-tuning the control of solar incidence and privacy. The block is structured by means of two vertical communication cores that communicate all the floors, and arranging the stairs in the order of voids. On each level there are eleven housing units and a community program unit, offering a total of 55 homes.
Below ground level —and distributed over two basement levels— the entire plot is occupied so that the required amount of parking is available together with the technical and auxiliary services, which allows the ground floor to be freed up as much as possible. Road access is available on the east façade, from Calle Artesanos.
The exterior spaces of the roof are conceived as small garden squares connected to the same circulation scheme and housing shaded areas by means of pergolas made up of an installation of photovoltaic panels. These spaces are also used for community activities abroad, together with technical bands for installations, and for hanging clothes.