Social Housing for Mine Workers / Zon-e Arquitectos

Courtesy of

Architects: Zon-e Arquitectos / Nacho Ruiz Allén, José Antonio Ruiz Esquiroz
Location: Asturias,
Project Area: 2,385 sqm
Photographs: Ignacio Martinez and Jose Antonio Ruiz

The purpose of the project was to design and build state subsidized housing in Cerredo (Asturias), a mining town located in the very heart of the Cantabrian Mountains, where no residential construction had been made for over 25 years.

Courtesy of Zon-e Arquitectos

The project had two stages that materialized in two perpendicular buildings forming an L shape. In the first stage we undertook the biggest building, which faces the road that crosses the town.


The volumetric we propose has an angular shape. It is a geometry crystallized from some elementary laws that are given by the town-planning regulations. The formal result is something halfway between a petrified object, a mountain’s shape and a disturbing organism floating over the mountainside.

Courtesy of Zon-e Arquitectos

This “crystallographic” object has the same dark color as the local slate. Like a piece of coal, it absorbs almost all the light it gets and reflects a small amount of it, calmly showing us its rich geometry.

Courtesy of Zon-e Arquitectos

The building’s unity contrasts with the individuality of each of the 15 apartments that show through some galleries in the facade. These are cubes which drill the volume using a herringbone pattern and work as heat and light exchangers.


Each of the apartments is different in size, floor plan distribution, location of its gallery and in its roof’s configuration. All of them enjoy cross ventilation and breathtaking views of Asturias’ craggy landscape.


The project’s nature as object is emphasized by the way the ground floor is approached: this has been set back along its perimeter, reinforcing the idea of a “floating body.”

Courtesy of Zon-e Arquitectos

View this project in Google Maps

* Location to be used only as a reference. It could indicate city/country but not exact address.
Cite: "Social Housing for Mine Workers / Zon-e Arquitectos" 31 Jul 2011. ArchDaily. Accessed 29 May 2015. <>
  • ariana roberts

    good social housing!

  • Anon

    Why would a Miner ever want to live in a place that is so much like where they work? While Intersting, the building looks kind of like a cave… Or like they described, a rock of some sort…. Would a miner really want to go back home to a place that is a giant rock or cave???? Seems depressing to me…

    • Chris

      I agree about the exterior; somebody with a bitterly ironic sense of humor must have decided on the coal black exterior treatment.

      Apart from that there is much I like about it though, I’d definitely live in it.