Carabanchel Housing / dosmasuno arquitectos

Architects: dosmasuno arquitectos – Ignacio Borrego, Néstor Montenegro and Lina Toro
Location: Madrid,
Construction beggining: September 2004
Construction ending: November 2007
Client: EMVS. Empresa Municipal de la Vivienda y Suelo de Madrid
Contractor: Begar
Structural advisor: José Luis de Míguel
Consulting Engineers: Grupo JG
Photographs: Miguel de Guzmán


Orientation and introspectiveness

Despite the guidelines drawn on the plots, places need to express their own personality, to arise naturally, to construct themselves. And concretely this one is aligned against a green area, against the concatenation of public spaces that link the old Carabanchel district with its forest through the new neighborhood. In response to these conditions, the dwellings are compressed onto one edge, onto a single linear piece, in search for the genus loci of the place, views and an optimal orientation in which east and west share the south, generating the limit of the activity, soothing the interior and defining the exterior.


Minimum core + additions

The dwellings are designed from an invariable core with a modulated addition which completes the requirements of the program. This fixed core is constructed attending to the surrounding views and sunlight, and its two main pieces, living and sleeping rooms, are stacked to the south limit, from which they are protected with a filter, relegating a services strip to the back side. Behind this strip, and like clouds drifting over the void, variations are introduced by the addition of programmatic pieces that form the dwellings of two and three bedrooms. The strict order achieved by the linear core is mathematically blurred into a shifting volume. Thus, the dwellings become “machines for living”, and they are designed as such, fitting surfaces and diminishing the transition areas of between rooms.


Modular casting system

Its construction responds to a necessity of industrial optimization. Therefore, the structure of the main body is constructed in from a single high accuracy aluminum cast. At the same time, the light steel structure modules that constitute the additioned elements enable volumetric variations. This industrialized system facilitates the constructive process, avoiding rubbish and accelerating the implementation times.

Cite: "Carabanchel Housing / dosmasuno arquitectos" 09 Aug 2008. ArchDaily. Accessed 22 May 2015. <>
  • yrag

    I’m guessing the architect likes white. Structurally it’s an impressive building, I just feel it would have been much more merciful on the eye if the architect would have incorporated some Mediterranean earth tones on the out cropping modules.

    • Luca

      Right, if they coloured the modules and the roof of the parking it would be flawless.

      • yrag


        Luca, grab your paint brush, and work clothes that you don’t mind getting dripped on— WE”RE GOING TO MADRID!

  • Francisco Pardo Téllez

    No hay ninguna indicación de orientación, se ignora en que sentido está el norte y si los volumenes, sus aperturas y llenos, juegos de pieles y sombrios son consecuentes o no con el sol.
    El juego de la luz en los volumenes es interesante, quizas muy asceptico el blanco, falta ver como tras la ocupación los nuevos habitantes van colocando sus improntas de color. Vale la pena ver una foto dentro de 1 año o más

  • Sebastian Erazo

    Vale la pena ver una foto dentro de los edificios. El proyecto se ve como una propuesta plastica interesante pero la experiencia de habitar una plaza blanca y negra me parece un poco agobiante. Quizas una fotografia de los interiores responderia la pregunta con respecto a la orientacion.

  • mimosin

    parece un anuncio de compresas!!!

  • alex

    I like the white. This is an awesome project. I can’t believe that you can cantilever something that far out and have a planar face on the other side. Really cool.

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  • Juan Gomez-Velez

    This is an extraordinary project, with great pluses, and some minuses, built out of a form generating principle and set as a rather asceptic insertion within it’s context. To make low income housing appealing, it must be conceptually striking, because it can never be truly expensively finished. A very uniform and low cost repetitive concrete structure is set of with a whimsical yet very efective volumetric statement, where small apertures, narrow corridors and bland entrances are given a dramatic overtone. Its single loaded, relatively safe circulation pattern works. The expanded metal sheating is also very effective, giving the building a front and back, a face, masked and an enhanced, accented and extremely voluptuous body.

    As for the translation of excellent drawings to a built structure I feel that the metal panels should have been expressed as different from the concrete surfaces.The drawings did so, the building does not. The sheathing is pretty in paper, but expanded metal may be difficult to maintain ( a pain to paint if anything)and its uneven finish speaks of its role as something “ïnexpensive”. Paint is the least expensive of all expressive resources an architect has at his disposal, to ignore it deliberately is always a risk.

    All in all, an excellent project, truly a work of distinction, well thought out and well executed. Both the architects and their sponsor should be commended….very loudly!

  • Dylan

    The back is a little ‘off’. Reminds me of public housing with a large unfriendly garden.

  • Mike Aldana


  • Xavi Serrella

    Pienso que la combinación de colores es un poco opresiva para la vida diaria, el blanco con el negro. Y esta combinación me recuerda más a una zona volcánica tipo Lanzarote que a Carabanchel.

    It’s true, the combination of white and black maybe is a little oppresive for living. We’ve to remember too that we are in Madrid, because the colour of the building and sand reminds me Lanzarote (Canary Islands).

  • Mauro

    Sono uno studente di architettura di Cagliari.
    Il vostro è un progetto veramente innovativo per la forma e per la tipologia strutturale.
    Il vostro progetto sarà uno degli argomenti che presenterò nel mio prossimo esame.

  • Mr. Cheap

    I don’t know what to think of this project. The base idéa seems to be attempting to make something of the very efficient circulation scheme applied by using motel-style corridors outside of the isolated building. Still, one can ask the question of weather having so many shitty windows in each appartment is better, or if reducing the amount spent on elevators to 1/3 would have perhaps given the inhabitors some other qualities rather than a lot of elevators ? I don’t think giving a bip about the details and going all inn on a concept necessarily makes for good low cost apartments.

    I’ve seen better circulation schemes for low cost housing, for example thoose that apply corridors only on every second floor, and use less elevators (perhaps two for this building block would have been enough). That does lower efficiency below 90%, but it still is very efficient, requires few elevators and stairs, and thus allows for one good detail, -for example a good size window.

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  • Harsha Shamnani

    It is wonderful concept with beautifully articulated volumes and its overall composition. It resolves the structural aspects in a very simple and clear manner.

  • Mehdi Panahi

    I think it would be better if the positive Volumes affect in flat Facade as negative volumes.

  • went away

    can we download this housing?

  • ELMANCO / Stefano Ricci

    It looks like a prison designed by Apple…

  • astral zhou


  • Cristobal Mayendia

    There are a lot of good ideas in this project but unfortunately ELMANCO is right, the complex feels like a jail. I would have treated the external facade in a different way. The white mesh makes the building look like a big cage. The MVRDV influence is noticeable in the back facade. The use of color or materials with different textures would have been nice in order to differentiate the volumes/unit types.
    Overall interesting as a case study but in this kind of projects you always have to ask yourself: Would you want to live here…?

  • davelsoso