Interview with Architects Rueda-Pizarro By Studio Banana TV
          Posted By Mario Cipresso

        • Studio Banana TV interviews Rueda-Pizarro, authors of a young people housing complex in Parla, Madrid.

          In mid 2005, the Town Council of Parla in Madrid, in collaboration with the Madrid Architects' Association (COAM) Competitions Office, organized a competition with a novel approach: 826 dwellings distributed in 6 lots for public housing. They were rental dwellings for young persons, optimized to 35 m2 of usable surface area in order to fit the maximum number of units onto the available land. In addition, they awarded the surface right to private companies who paid the costs of the competition, construction and operation of the rented apartments, reducing the town council's contribution to management of the public land and selection of the awardees. Our proposal was one of the six winning projects and we had to include exactly 156 dwellings, which were the number allocated to us in the urban planning scheme.

          Already in the competition, with the motto "Building situations", our starting point was the situationist postulates of the fifties. In their texts, they taught us to understand the city from the perspective of individual experience. Exclusively functionalist approaches were left behind; the aspects that concerned us were those that went beyond dimensional parameters, road system hierarchies, solids and hollows, and which took into account topological, relational and phenomenological parameters. The space of the city acquires meaning with the use that is made of it by its inhabitants, from the multiplicity of relationships that can occur in it (figure 1): experience the city as a space for "building situations". Faced with the typical degraded landscape devoured by infrastructures of the periphery (figure 2), we wanted our proposal for dwellings for young persons to be understood as a playful reappropriation of urban space. The site plan itself, reminiscent of the psychogeographic maps of Guy Debord (figure 3), shows the location as part of a network of municipal public spaces.

          We proposed to free the ground level as much as possible with a new topography that houses the building services (figure 4), to create an area for recreational activities that can vary depending on the subject and time of day and according to the seasons.

          Above this active surface, linked to the surrounding urban fabric, the dwellings are organized around four towers with the maximum compactness (figure 5). A central space in each tower, lit and ventilated from overhead, allows relationships to be established between users in vertical and horizontal directions and ensures cross-ventilation in all the dwellings. Instead of the standard living room-bedroom-kitchen program, we proposed a configurable space (figure 6), an unnamed room that can be used for multiple purposes. All the rooms are organized around this space, which can be incorporated into the rest of the rooms to increase their size or function independently from them. The only fixed part are the rooms with plumbing, which act as a hub around which the living rooms and bedrooms are arranged, introducing a certain randomness in the composition of the façade. An enclosure of 18-cm wide anodized aluminum louvers envelops the façade (figure 7), dressing the building and achieving a contemporary image within the framework of a limited budget, which did not exceed 700 euros per square meter above ground level.

          Interview by Studio Banana TV. Translation by Remy Arroyo.

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