Text description provided by the architects. The first thing we did was to think about the people, about the future inhabitants. The building had to have more than one hundred rental houses with one or two bedrooms for the elderly.
We thought about how the elderly would contribute to the building’s characteristics. The key was to imagine how they would live in it. We could see them taking care of plants in ceramic pots, and how all these plants would hang down from the windows and railings like a green cascade. We could also see them sitting in the sun, enjoying the views and gathering together for a chat, talking to each other across the balconies... This is how we got the idea of having large south-facing terraces looking out onto the landscape. Moreover, having the terraces staggered –in a cascade, - would allow us to give a terrace to the highest number of homes.
We know that the shape of the building resembles those of old-fashioned holiday hotels and residences. From them, we have taken some architectonic resources to develop our project. Is there anything nicer than ending our lives as if we were on holidays? The site also favoured this option. We had a plot at the edge of the town of Sabadell which was south-oriented and in front of a huge park which has magnificent views of Collserola and Tibidabo in Barcelona.
Moreover, the site is located at the end of an urban strip full of public facilities, which culminates in a great park at the south end. In order to lighten the intervention and also to allow some transparency on the streets of the neighbourhood and the park, it was decided to split the program into two blocks. In between, trees and flowerbeds would ensure the "space” continuity.
Apart from the houses, the building also had to include common spaces - both indoors and outdoors- , a day centre (with a versatile living room, some classrooms, administrative offices and the respective technical and service areas) and a car park .
The staggered terrace effect, the main leitmotiv of the project, would be solved on various levels. Typologically, vertically interspersing one or two bedrooms houses with terraces. Structurally, with simple metallic braces that support the gaps in the concrete reticular structure. In terms of facilities, inserting a carefully designed system of pipes, inclined inside the double ceramic blade walls that limit the terraces.
In terms of construction, we have made sure to resort to the minimum number of solutions and different materials, as well as to standardized prefabrication whenever possible, trying to balance the cost with the condition of public housing. At the same time, traditional resources are used to ensure optimum comfort for homes, crossed ventilation, eaves, porches and balconies for sun protection, light-coloured facades, ventilated roofs, good insulation, etc.