211 Housing units in Ciudad Real

Ciudad Real. Spain | 2004

Junta de Castilla-La Mancha

The construction of 211 subsidized houses in Ciudad Real offers the opportunity to reflect on residential intervention in the outskirts of the city. We start with the criticism that the present suburbs are built up without any defined order or sense, resulting in fragments with no particular ties to the area and fairly unsightly. In this regard, the solution offered here has tried to combine an exclusively residential design with a very specific urban setting, in an effort to provide an architectural antidote to the poison of vulgarity spread throughout the city fringes.

In order to do this, a setting with unique objects such as the Puerta de Toledo coexisting with aggressive infrastructures such as the Ronda de Toledo was observed. And, with the exception of a nearby playground, the rest is a vacuum devoid of any significance, conditioned by its location on the outskirts and contaminated by infrastructures and irrelevant architecture. Nevertheless, analysis of the remote reveals the existence of elements in layers –Manchegan landscape, hills and vantage points, the Guadiana River– that exercise a positive and coherent influence in the conception of the urban area and buildings which make up the proposal.

Drawing from these assumptions, the houses are designed as a set of blocks arranged following several principles. Ten buildings of similar size are placed on an easily understood plot with a green background to introduce nature. In this basic scheme each building adopts a height according to its relative position within the plot, thereby forming public patios of different condition. Thus, four towers respond to the territorial scale of the Ronda de Toledo, while three four story blocks looking to the interior form gardens of human scale. Simultaneously, the replicability of the arrangement allows it to be considered a strategy for colonization of the area, since consideration has been given to eventual disappearance of neighboring buildings and possible extension of the relevant pattern. Likewise, the fragmentation in various blocks lends great flexibility to development of the project, avoiding dependency on a single development.