Residence for Architecture Students
HARQUITECTES + dataAE
By Pol Martin
Joining forces HARQUITECTES and dataAE
architects have designed this ecological residence for architecture
students located next to the ETSAV (UPC) Architecture School of
Sant Cugat del Vallès, Barcelona. The building is an excellent
example that ecological conscience, using prefabricated structures,
and high architectural ambitions can go hand in hand. The project
has been chosen as one of the twelve finalists for the FAD Prize
Defining the campus block
The Residence for Architecture Students - a student housing facility - in Sant Cugat is located in the south-west corner of the same block upon which the Vallès Architecture School (ETSAV) was built in 1991 by Lluís Nadal. Originally built within the 'garden city', for years the school's white cubic building has awaited the further development of the UPC campus block and the city.
In 2006 the first low building running along the south facade of the school was carried out by Javier Garcia Solera, providing new headquarters for the university research centers. This low form parallel to the existing school doesn't break any of the great views that the school has south, towards the Collserola Mountains and the existing pinewoods.
HARQUITECTES and dataAE designed the Residence for Architecture Students in Sant Cugat with the intention to establish a good balance between the existing buildings and the surrounding outdoor areas. Placing the building in the opposite corner of the block from the school building, the residence somehow clearly defines and concludes the pending distribution of the whole campus block. Also, it is placed parallel to the street and not to the school like the previous low extension. Despite the two level height of the residence, the natural slope of the site leaves the school views undisturbed.
Apartments for architecture students
The overall form of the student housing complex is made up of two main bars, laid out and separated by a central atrium or garden. This central space functions both as individual terraces and a common distribution spatial element. This terrace/corridor space has the potential use as a place for events and socializing. Harquitectes and dataAE came up with a program to enhance intense connections among inhabitants, both on an individual and group level. The interior flexibility of the apartments allow different cases where sharing is possible and comfortable. Xavier Ros from Harquitectes explains to arcspace:
Now, two years after the opening, the apartments have been occupied very differently by its inhabitants: most of them are architecture students... So the flexibility that we considered in our project has allowed the specificity of each individual in their distributions.
Assembling prefab concrete units
Based on industrialized construction, the project is assembled using just one housing module type made of pre-formed concrete without partition walls. Each one of these units includes all the necessary fixed elements, simplifying the execution of finishing and installations. Most components of the project are installed and assembled by dry-build systems so every module and its contents can be dismantled and reused or is highly recyclable.
The units are assembled in two levels in order to take advantage of the existing topography. This creates accessible entrances without the need of using elevators helping reduce the space needed for corridors and stairs by 50 percent. Xavier Ros explains to us how
a big effort was put into this project to try to make the best out of the prefabricated concrete system and to introduce bioclimatic criteria for real in the project conception: the use of the central heating from the existing school, the vegetable facade on the south used as protection from the sun and to cover the central garden with a greenhouse roof in order to create an intermediate bioclimatic space that makes increase the energy efficiency of the building and, at the same time, economizes the building enclosure. Unfortunately it's not been covered yet. It seems that it will be executed in 2014. We are still waiting.
The cycle of life analysis done on the building so far demonstrates that this project saves up to 50 percent on the energy associated to construction materials and up to 70 percent on the energy demand respect to standard buildings according to CTE regulations.
HARQUITECTES + dataAE
Both HARQUITECTES and dataAE are really good examples of up and coming young studios in Spain joining forces to collaborate on innovative projects like The Residence for Architecture Students in Sant Cugat. In early 2014 the pair expect to finish their second building together: the ICTA-ICP Research Center.
Xavi Ros from HARQUITECTES points out with satisfaction how "this upcoming building is the first result to the date, of a very close and intense collaboration between two studios with points of view quite alike."
The Residence for Architecture Students in Sant
Cugat has to date been awarded a fair amount of first prizes; the
2013 Arquitectura Plus Sustainable Award, the Green Building CE
Award, the NAN 2012 Award, the AJAC 2012 Award and the the SAIE
2011 Concrete Award. The project has been also selected for the
Green Building Challenge 2011 (Finland) and recently became a
finalist for the FAD Prize 2013 and the Spanish Bienal 2013.
Facts about Residence for Architecture Students
Pere Serra, 1-15 Sant Cugat del Vallès, Barcelona, Catalonia, Spain
Project Title: Dwelling House for Students (ETSAV, UPC)
Client: UPC / UTE Compact Hàbit and Constructora d'Aro
Building Services: ÀBAC Enginyers
Project Area: 3.101 sqm
Budget: 2.645.176,10 euros
Last updated: September 22, 2014