The BB Construmat convention hosted a session this Friday in which three projects underway in Barcelona were presented – one of them for renovation and the other two for new constructions. The projects were promoted by the Municipal Housing and Renovation Institute (IMHAB) and are currently being drafted.
The projects that were presented are the large renovation project of Carrer Hospital, with Josep Miàs as representative of the architects; and the new construction projects on the avenue of the Virgin of Montserrat (site of the old Quirón), with Pau Bajet as representative; and on Carrer Venezuela, with Marta Peris and José Toral as representatives.
The session was presented by Joan Carles Melero, director of IMHAB Technical Services, who opened for those responsible for each of the projects presented.
Carrer Hospital renovation project
For the renovation projects to be carried out by the IMHAB, Melero explained that they were necessary because there are areas of the city where new constructions cannot be built, since there is no land available. In these cases, the alternative is to buy existing buildings and carry out renovations.
This is the case of the Carrer Hospital project, in the heart of Raval. As the architect Josep Miàs explained, this project is based on two criteria: On the one hand, performing a “microsurgery“; and on the other, making “a contribution of air” in a very compact neighbourhood.
Mias explained that Carrer Hospital has focused on small interventions, such as opening the stairway, that aim at gaining air space. The building was constructed using an interior block and the neighbours were making renovations and adapting to the space as necessary. With the renovation work that must be carried out, we want to take advantage of the stairway and patio spaces to open and adapt them.
The intervention also foresees the incorporation of elevators and the general improvement of a space that is in a quite deteriorated state.
Social and equipped housing for the elderly
For the new constructions, Melero explained that the IMHAB is developing various types of housing, such as housing for the elderly and collective housing, in addition to others such as social and affordable rental housing.
The construction project on Carrer Venezuela, in the district of Sant Martí, anticipates these typologies. On the one hand, there will be 60 homes equipped for the elderly; and on the other, 80 social rental flats with two bedrooms. In addition, a pilot test of a household unit will be carried out, on a type of housing for elderly people who need 24-hour monitoring as an alternative to residences.
The project, by the architects Marta Peris and José Toral, was the winner of the contest to build in this area.
The site is located in a passage, and one of the challenges has been finding “a sponge in the interior of the passage”. The solution, explained Toral, involves the creation of five patios that are superimposed on different levels and a central atrium that guarantees more hours of sunlight in these homes. In this distribution, the shared living space is on the ground floor, then there are the social rental flats, and in the highest part there are the homes equipped for the elderly.
The patios were created to improve the energy performance of the building. In this sense, it stands out that the system has been devised in order to open and close the central patios of the building, depending on whether it is summer or winter, while also having fans that will move the air to regulate the temperature in the building.
Marta Peris, meanwhile, reflected on the social implications of the project, intended in part for older people. In this sense, she explained that the spaces between the house and the street have been thought of as spaces for meeting and socialising, and where you can build community.
Peris also explained the distribution of the different homes (20 per landing), with innovative solutions such as a system that allows kitchens to be converted into shared spaces between two homes. She added that the project also includes community services like laundry and an urban garden.
Equipped housing in the old Quirón
The third project presented was of a new construction to be built on the site of the Old Quirón. Melero explained that this project is being carried out through a participatory process that has given a “complex” result, since it incorporates both housing and other facilities for the neighbourhood.
In these cases, Melero added, “it can be very rewarding if the architect takes all concerns into account and responds through the building, and that has been achieved by the architects of this project.” The project was won through a joint venture of two teams, UTE Espinet Ubach and Bajet Giramé.
Pau Bajet, member of one of the two teams, explained that the space where the project will be carried out has been occupied by the neighbours, who have been demanding a community space for the neighbourhood for a long time.
The construction of 86 equipped homes for the elderly is planned, as well as the creation of a youth centre, a centre for the elderly and a neighbourhood centre. In addition, there will be a pilot test of a household unit, as an alternative to a seniors’ residence for those with dependency. The unit will have 10 bedrooms and community spaces, and 24-hours accompaniment. “The building is considered to be a large container of spaces adapted to urban geography,” explained Bajet, who said that this will be “a building with the richness of a city.”
Specifically, the project plan is to build a double block with an interior space that will improve the conditions of the interior facades and create interior courtyards. The equipment will be located on the ground floor and upper floor, and there will be the homes for the elderly in the upper part the household unit. In addition, the building will include an urban garden on the upper terrace as well as multi-purpose rooms.
Representative projects of the IMHAB
At the end of the presentation, the Housing and Renovation councillor, Josep Maria Montaner, spoke, saying that the three projects are “very representative” of the policies that are carried out by the IMHAB.
Montaner highlighted how these projects show “a greater sensitivity for the urban context, for energy saving and for concepts of spaces in relation to people and how they can support contact between different generations”.
In relation to the Carrer Hospital project, Montaner mentioned the difficulty and, above all, the time required to carry out this renovation. The City Council bought this building after preventing the eviction of its residents, and later opened a call for ideas for its renovation.
A similar situation took place with the old Quirón project, where it was also necessary to allocate a lot of time to the processes of buying the space, the demolition of the old medical centre and the realisation of the previous participatory process and the call for ideas. “We would like everything to be faster, but these processes take years,” Montaner said.