Social Housing by Pereda Perez Arquitectos | Yellowtrace

Social Housing by Pereda Perez Arquitectos | Yellowtrace

Social Housing by Pereda Perez Arquitectos | Yellowtrace

Social Housing by Pereda Perez Arquitectos | Yellowtrace

Social Housing by Pereda Perez Arquitectos | Yellowtrace

 

Today we head to Pamplona in Spain or, as the fiercely independent locals would prefer it to be referred, the Basque Region. Famed for the controversial Running of the Bulls the walled city is steeped in tradition, characterised by its narrow streets lined with skinny buildings where every window appears to have a viewing balcony. It is amongst this historical tapestry that we find the extraordinary social housing project by Pereda Perez Arquitectos.

Carlos Pereda and Oscar Perez founded their practice in 2005 and are undoubtably masters of fine architectural detailing. Their work is dominated by clean, crisp lines with forms that ooze style and timeless elegance. This example is no different and received a special mention at the 2015 Spanish Architecture Awards, a testament to how successfully this scheme respects its rich urban context with sensitivity and grace.

The project began life as a competition to reinvigorate a run-down corner of the city with the plot located within a larger regeneration scheme. As the global financial crisis hit much of the work was postponed with only the vision of the housing block becoming a reality. An existing structure on the site was demolished to pave the way for the new, with the exception of the medieval cavern below which was retained and incorporated into the new design. The architects have managed to create a floorplan that maximises area for the six families lucky enough to live here, all the while paying careful consideration to quality of light, visual connectivity and respect for location.

 

Social Housing by Pereda Perez Arquitectos | Yellowtrace

Social Housing by Pereda Perez Arquitectos | Yellowtrace

Social Housing by Pereda Perez Arquitectos | Yellowtrace

Social Housing by Pereda Perez Arquitectos | Yellowtrace

 

Split over five levels with commercial space to the ground floor this is a building that effectively has two sides, two distinct personalities and a clever play on a traditional facade language by the design team. To the street, the block seeks to blend and camouflage with the existing; on first glance it would be forgivable to not notice this as a new addition but on closer inspection the contemporary details begin to jump out. The longer elevation continues the material selections but here the hierarchy has been adapted and there is a clear emphasis on maximising light and sense of space. With a keen focus on improvement to the surrounding area, an existing public access remains but has undergone a make-over to become very much part of the development. Here, a sculptured wall utilises a beautifully delicate lighting feature to illuminate the way for pedestrians while not disrupting the residents above.

Internally is where the design excellence shows it full force with jaw-dropping feature staircases, a stunning eye for detail and a wonderfully restrained material palette that just makes me feel happy! Another stroke of genius can be seen in the spacial planning. Each apartment space was considered independently and allocated a unique arrangement allowing levels to be interconnected, this providing full flexibility for the future needs of the families and creating a building that can adapt and change to suit the needs of the occupiers.

All in all, the project is a perfect example on how to design in an informed and intelligent way that is sympathetic to tradition – without becoming a slave to the pastiche. Pereda and Perez, we salute you and your designer brilliance.

 


[Photography © Pegenaute Studio.]

 

About The Author

Rachel Maude
Contributor

Rachel is originally from the north of the England where she studied and lived for the majority of her life. After qualifying as an Architect and working in London for a number of years, she made the move to Melbourne in the search of a new adventure. Her work to date has covered a range of sectors and scales, and although a lover of all things design, her passion and expertise lay in smaller scale residential projects and seeing them through to completion. An environmentalist at heart, she has a keen interest in sustainability and minimising mankind's impact on the planet. When not fulfilling her designing duties, if the sun is shining you will find Rachel outdoors - always eager to explore new places by foot or pedal power (whilst also topping up her tan!).

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