A new social housing tower outside of Barcelona made a concerted effort to only choose materials that were recycled and could be recycled. Torre Plaça Europa, completed in 2010 by Roldán+Berengué Arqts, is a 20 story building promoted by INCASOL, and it is located in a new central zone known as Plaça Europa (Europa Square). With 75 housing units inside, the tower was designed to meet a number of green design criteria that included natural ventilation, use of recycled material, prefabricated elements, and proper solar orientation to keep the interior comfortable.
R+B Arqts had five innovation criteria in mind while designing this social housing project. First, they wanted each apartment to have multiple solar orientations and cross ventilation. Second, the building had to include 100 percent recyclable materials, 85 percent of which should come from recycled materials. Third, they wanted to include some prefabricated elements to aid in construction. Fourth, the facade was to be ventilated with no thermal bridges, and finally, they wanted to use very austere materials assembled in unconventional ways.
The 20 story tower’s exterior is made with prefabricated window systems and recycled aluminum brise-soleil, that provides shading and encourages natural ventilation. Recessed three story tall sections create pockets and every third floor enjoys a balcony. Materials were chosen based on their environmental impact and eventual life cycle. The tower is located in a newly developed plaza called Europa Square, according to Albert Viaplana’s Project, and situated along the Gran Via. In total, the new square will eventually have 26 towers.
Images ©Jordi Surraco