Density or looseness? Intensity or laid-backness? Public or private? Urban or suburban? The problem in creating new housing on the edge of the city is to somehow synthesise all of these seeming opposites - not to choose between them but to lift a little from them all to create a new cocktail of the familiar and the foreign, the everyday and the exotic. MK27’s designs for Somosaguas, a new development at the expanding edge of Madrid, is the Brazilian studio’s first foray into European housing. The intention was to create a kind of habitat, a new neighbourhood in which the houses are loosely arranged around a web of public spaces - streets, plazas, parks, a pool - and in which the communal streetscape occupies as much area as the dwellings themselves. It is a design for a public kind of living - a nod to the Spanish proclivity for living in the city and occupying the spaces of urbanity arguably more than they do their own homes (which remain as places for sleeping and siestas).
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