Delft-based firm Mecanoo Architecten recently began construction on a new green public housing project in Málaga, Spain. Sustainability plays an integral part in the construction of the project, which is located in a new development on the outskirts of Málaga called Universidad. The development comprises 170 residences and it was designed with solar paneling to minimize energy use, and alternating heights of five or six stories to allow natural ventilation and natural light to penetrate the interior spaces.
According to Project Architect Marta Roy, Mecanoo’s housing plan was inspired by the historic inner city of Málaga – it “finds its form following the language of the patios strongly rooted in the Mediterranean culture and therefore Málaga.” Comprised of seven different types of housing from duplex residences to homes designed specifically for individuals with disabilities, the dwellings are situated around eight patios – four large, interconnecting, communal spaces and four small, intimite ones. Each apartment connects to both the larger and smaller patio areas, creating both public and private spaces.
Materiality plays an integral role in the design of the housing complex. Using materials and textures that refer to the constructive tradition of the south of Spain, Mecanoo Architects employ golden-flecked olive colored tiles to the main patio areas and smaller patio’s balconies, while stucco is used as accents around window frames on the main patio space, and as cladding on the smaller patios. By using local materials, Roy tells Inhabitat, “they perform better according to the climactic and socio-economic conditions of Málaga.” The architects also reduced the number of communication cores per house, providing efficiency in terms of economics and energy.
Known for their innovation in the field of collective housing, Project Architect Marta Roy tells Inhabitat, “Housing projects in Mecanoo are always thought from the point of view of the users, creating an environment to simulate their senses.” Expected to be complete in 2010, the project intends to bring a new typology for social housing to Spain, as it promotes innovative services and the idea of building a new and modern neighborhood.