building the society

Brick and patio outside and flexibility inside. These two keys describe the bioclimatic control and variability in the architects’ designed social rental homes Peiris and Toral In the Besos district of Barcelona.

The entrance, which regulates access, is a traditional atrium and, therefore, a bioclimatic one. This is also what lights up and ensures the cross ventilation of the 54 homes present in this block at Besos neighborhood in Barcelona. The patio also brings natural light to the underground car park and to the multi-purpose room and changing rooms that occupy the ground floors. This atrium, naturally, in addition to a communal area and source of heat, sound and light, serves as a solar collector in winter and as a solar chimney – increasing the dissipation surface – in summer.

To an access patio that keeps the temperature at bay, architects Peris & Toral added an air intake, on the first floor of the north facade, allowing air to circulate in that space. Besides that communal space with the ability to regulate temperature, the apartment building has a community balcony on the fifth floor and a viewpoint on the tenth. Both spaces are expanding and enlarging the common areas of the property.

Interior design of a house designed by Peris & Toral.Joseph Hevea Blach

Apart from the design, the materiality of the building also contributes to its seclusion and isolation Energy saving. The architects note that this handcrafted brick “and biomass fired” material contributes to the atrium’s inertial stiffening. Their manual placement also allows another traditional resource to be created: the creation of grilles that simultaneously provide privacy, ventilation, solar filter and security — “mechanisms to prevent intrusion,” as Marta Perez and José Toral call them —. There are latticeworks on the ground floor and on the terraces.

Design thinks more about what is not felt than what is seen. Inside the houses, a 10-meter-high light structure frees the plant. The bathroom and kitchen are grouped into the dividing wall to free up the rest of the floor and offer three possible layouts, i.e. three different ways of living.

Background view of a building of 54 apartments in Barcelona.
Background view of a building of 54 apartments in Barcelona.Joseph Hevea Blach

The traditional distribution has a room in the corner, separating the day and night areas. Another option is to unite the rooms in the corner, separate the space of the kitchen and dining room with the functions of remote spaces for rest or work. It’s about distancing so the uses don’t overlap each other. Between both options, a room occupies a central position with two spaces that are different but visually connected. All of these provisions allow for cross ventilation which reduces the temperature of the building.

Designed inside and out, both from symbiosis and from the construction of spaces, materials, these homes by Peris & Toral, are another example of a great profession that seeks to improve living conditions, way of thinking and building social housing.

Budget according to the architects: 1,100 euros per square meter PEC (contract price).

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