All too often, government subsidized housing is so ugly or uniform nobody wants to live there, but that's not the case with this lovely coal-colored complex in Spain. Zon-e Arquitectos has aspired to give each of the 15 Cerredo units a certain amount of individuality without neglecting their long term sustainability. Typical of architecture in the wet and cold region of northern Spain, a carefully oriented southern facade soaks up the sun to keep the building warm while solar panels provide energy and heating.
Situated in a former mining town in the center of the Cantabrian mountains, the dark exterior is not only visually attractive, but increases the building’s solar gain. This ensures that each apartment, which has its own unique floor plan, size, and distribution, is kept as warm as possible during chilly winter months. And because social housing implies that people can’t really afford to spend a lot of money on energy, solar panels and high-performance insulation keep electricity bills to an absolute minimum. Lastly, each of the units will have spectacular views, demonstrating that subsidized housing can be affordable, beautiful, and inspiring!