Improvements in social housing

Monday 27 Feb 2012

Zigzag architecure give an insight on how to re-model traditional social housing

Zigzag is a young studio dedicated to architecture, urbanism and design founded in 2005 by David Casino and Bernardo Angelini, currently based in Madrid, Spain.

Zigzag is an architectural way of thinking and working based on the search for alternatives and side paths which promote simple solutions with a rich and a complex content; a process in which the pursuit of clarity and the power of ideas are crucial; ideas which attempt to respond to opportunities, context and place in a contemporary way. They try to develop localised and specific answers instead of the more and more frequently globalized solutions.

Their work aims are innovating and investigating new architectonic typologies adapted to new users and social models. Their research and proposals, as far as social housing is concerned, are outstanding. The following project is their Vivazz, Mieres Social housing, 131 social dwellings.

One of the most interesting characteristics about the project is that you notice once you get to the place is that despite being in the middle of an urban building mass, you can find limited views of the fields and meadows in the valley located in the higher part of the surrounding mountains. Their first aim was to recover this double quality of the place, making the project urban and rural at the same time. It was essential to model the rigid traditional urban block of seven different heights to end up building a new volume of variable heights (three to seven stories), containing the complete residential programme required. The rest of the programme (storage rooms, garage and facilities) was designed in a common underground basement.

The firm wanted the building to match the environment, voids and cuttings which allowed the view of the mountains in the empty spaces between the buildings, fragments of the Asturian landscape in the distance, enabling the sun and the air to enter the inner space at the same time.

The dual nature of the project results in a double material configuration. On the one hand the urban face materializes in steel and brings back the more industrial and mining image of Mieres, the former main economic engine of the city. Once inside the building the team looked for a rural reference, a return to nature and the origins of the site, the Asturian traditional porch, the use of wood, which reminds us, through its vertical rhythms, of the forests of the nearby mountains. The outer skin serves as facade and cover at the same time. It is built with panels of dark grey steel corrugated sheets, and is treated as a protective shell and as a continuous rugged casing in which the edges are rounded.

The inside of the building has a double skin, a transparent one formed by large windows that define the inner space of the apartments, and another one composed of movable wooden shutters that characterise the terraces, allowing the user to control solar radiation and have the necessary degree of privacy at all times.


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