Social Housing in Sa Pobla
Ripoll Tizón Estudio de Arquitectura
By Pol Martin
The Social Housing complex designed by Ripoll Tizón Estudio de Arquitectura in Sa Pobla beautifully adjusts its modernity to fit the local popular architectural language and the existing urban form of the village.
This humble attitude and the awareness and recognition of the
urban environment has resulted in a clear uplift for the small town
of Mallorca. Despite working with a very modest architectural
program such as social housing, the result is all-embracing. So
much so that it was recently chosen as one of the twelve finalists
for the FAD Prize 2013.
Traditional Mediterranean Public Space
In contrast to the iconic image of Mediterranean public life with city squares packed with frantic market dwellers, cafe goers spilling onto the cobbled streets and locals inhabitants occupied in passionate discussions on street side benches, there lies a more private traditional city form, common throughout the Mediterranean region.
Walking through the twisting streets, one is captured by the
narrowing and tortured mix of past and present housing, like a maze
you are drawn deeper into the town's web. Streets often finish
abruptly in cul-de-sacs or private courts, acting like filters that
limit the visual scope of the unwelcomed eyes of potential
intruders or curious strangers. Far from the open and social
plazas, old urban design mechanisms prevent and secure the value of
privacy and diversity of every home.
Privacy Space Filters
It's in this filtering and the consequent diversity of spaces that architects Pep Ripoll and Juan Miguel Tizón began to work; first by simply observing the situation surrounding their plot. This 'step back and observe' perspective was one reason why the new project so naturally corresponds to the local area, an approach remarked upon by the FAD Award 2013 Jury:
To start drawing the new settlement for this plot considering the measurements of courts, warehouses and residential buildings around, has established a very good neighbouring relationship. It also has produced a very rich exterior space sequence passing gradually from the open public to the community areas and into the private space.
Beside the values of diversity and surprise, architects Ripoll Tizón developed different standard housing types following the program. These would be later combined three-dimensionally following very logical and rational aggregation rules, but open enough to admit the diversity of situations that the response to the context required.
Far from occupying the whole plot in volume, the building mass
sometimes backs out from its limits. Voids or courts are created
making visible some of the walls that limit the plot with the
neighbors. A central interior courtyard organizes the circulations
and the rest of the common areas.
Three-dimensional Housing Units
Thinking in a manner similar to developing prefabricated homes, the Estudio de Arquitectura Ripoll Tizón distinguished two types of living units which could then be combined in a number of manners. The first unit consists of the main living, dining, and kitchen areas. The unit can be located on a single level or distributed between two. The second unit forms the smaller bedroom, bathroom and storage areas.
The flexible combination of units brought a sense of diversity to the project, allowing for a wide range of results in terms of providing both, a diverse mix of smaller and larger flats, catering for different family sizes, and diverse but functional interior design. This form of living unit design also became an important tool when organizing the plot in relation to the immediate surroundings and the created exterior spaces. The model allowed the architects to diversify design without losing a level of standardization that social housing developments often require. Materials followed the Mallorca popular style, acting to unify the complex with the imminent surroundings.
Estudio de Arquitectura Ripoll Tizón
This residential building is the result of winning the 'Idea
Competition' held in 2008 and so far the development has resulted
in considerable recognition for the studio created by Pepe Ripoll
and Juan Miguel Tizón. In addition to being a finalist in three
competitions; the FAD Award, the XII Spanish Biennial of
Architecture and Urbanism, and the Barbara Cappochin International
Architecture Biennial, the social housing complex became first
prize winner of the residential category at the Arquitectura
PLUS Awards 2013.
Facts about Social Housing in Sa Pobla
Social Housing in Sa Pobla
Calle Mercat, 92 SaPobla, Mallorca, Spain
Institut Balear de l'Habitatge - IBAVI (Balearic Public Housing Institute)
Year of Design:
Pablo García (architect), Luis Sánchez (architect)
Obras y Construcciones Pedro Siles SL
Last updated: December 20, 2013
Siza, Souto de Moura, Moneo, Calatrava and Barraga,
London, United Kingdom
Burbank, California , USA