Shelter Home for the Homeless / Javier Larraz

© Iñaki Bergera

Architects: Javier Larraz (Larraz Arquitectos)
Location: , Spain
Assistants: Belén Beguiristáin Lahuerta, Juan Miguel García
Technical Architects: Atec Aparejadores
Developer: Ayuntamiento de Pamplona
Construction Company: Mastil Marco S.L
Project area: 995 sqm
Project year: 2010
Photographs: Iñaki Bergera

© Iñaki Bergera

What the construction of the new Shelter Home for the Homeless offers, beyond satisfying the needs of shelter and food for the residents, is an opportunity for improving the quality of life of a socially excluded group, whose needs reach further than the simple fact of finding a place to sleep.

© Iñaki Bergera

The proposal defines a sound volume, able to assume with personality the intensity of use to which it is going to be subjected to, and being at the same time flexible in its functioning, where the interior configuration facilitates the coexistence among the different groups of users and allows for undertaking the different needs that are found in a relatively complex program in spite of its limited space: bedrooms, dining rooms, occupational workshops, leisure rooms, etc.

A silent box is proposed, that protects its contents from the curiosity of the onlookers, and that adequately integrates its reduced scale in a semi-urban, bleak environment.

The Project has undertaken an exercise of careful contention in various levels:

-Spatial: An extremely rational distribution is disposed, modulated and adjusted, where the program of needs exhausts the meagre area at our disposal.

first floor plan

-Formal: A discreet, sensible and contained architecture is proposed, with no room for fancies.

-Economic and Temporal: The construction works where undertaken in the adjusted period of 6 months, at an amount of 870€/m2.

© Iñaki Bergera

-Energetic: the building holds an A level energetic qualification.

The centre offers shelter and food for its users. In exchange of these, they must get involved in the daily tasks of maintenance, such as cleaning, washing, gardening, painting,…searching in this way for a personal compromise and positively focusing the respect for the new installation

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* Location to be used only as a reference. It could indicate city/country but not exact address.
Cite: "Shelter Home for the Homeless / Javier Larraz" 05 Apr 2011. ArchDaily. Accessed 27 May 2015. <>
  • Iain

    Shipping containers left aside a comatose industry to quietly house society’s leftovers whilst their fate/futures are never quite decided upon.

    Space for more or readily removable should their lack of fancy ensure they are helpfully short term.

    Are they more cynical or am I? I never know anymore.

    • james

      thats easy. you are.

  • dezzo

    I don’t mind being homeless!

  • tDA

    Strong simple forms with a crisp execution of details.
    However; what about context? What about architecture lifting the spirits of the human condition? Are the homeless going to appreciate inhabiting a stark, minimalist environment the way you or I would?
    Will this raise their hopes or make them feel institutionalized?
    I fear the latter.

    • mvb

      So, you mean that is better if homeless live in a smelly carton board surrounded by garbage (homeless context) because they do not have any idea about minimalism design nor architecture. Congrats! That was the most unfortunate comment I have ever read in here.

      • tDA

        How did you get that from my comment?
        and what exactly is, “smelly carton board”?

  • h.a.

    very funny indeed!! “Are the homeless going to appreciate inhabiting a stark, minimalist environment the way you or I would?” I am sure the homeless are the of the same kind as me and you, and indeed grateful enough to have a warm bed and a plate of soup.

    regarding context, there is certain vibration between black trees on background and cladding, although the landscaping around is still undefined. Will settle fine I think

    • iain

      From the blurb above:

      “…whose needs reach further than the simple fact of finding a place to sleep.”

      And from h.a:

      “…grateful enough to have a warm bed and a plate of soup”

      The project claims to aim for more than you suggests it needs to. I, and possibly others, are questioning whether it really does or just applies the same old architectural formula to tidy up a societal problem rather than do anything to actually solve it.

      • tDA

        Well put.
        I don’t think it’s unfair to expect greater things from architecture than just a roof and the means to heat soup.

      • h.a.

        Agree that we should expect something more from architecture, that´s what I was saying. I was replying to someone who said that homeless may find minimalism too funcy…this building gives more than the basic needs, that´s for sure. I said “homeless are grateful”, no “they should be grateful with what is given to them”. There is a big difference.

    • Sam75

      Minimalist yes, I think they are in a better position than you and I to understand the basic needs answered by such an architecture.

  • I.P. Freely

    I think the gesture is kind to provide the beauty of stark minimalism for the homeless. However, gesture aside, I think a warmer enveloping design would have been better. Something reminiscent of a clinic probably isn’t the best homecoming. And I AM including how I might feel if I were in the same shoes.

  • sullka

    870 euros per m2 is “economic”?……

    Great project though.

    • ux2011

      To be honest, that price is so low I can hardly believe that was actual cost of the building

  • runli guo

    Silence is gold