The building with 44 social home units, commercial premises and a car park is part of the urban renewal project for the old quarter of Manresa, the fundamental objective of which was to regenerate and revitalise the city’s historical centre. The special plan drawn up for Manresa Municipal Council launched an important and ambitious idea, that of reactivating an area of the city that was bordering on neglect. With this intervention the Municipal Council has managed to reactivate this neighbourhood by creating an integrated ensemble of public spaces, apartment units, commercial premises and a public car park.
The main idea behind the design of this social housing building was to create decent social housing based on the minimum maintenance principles specified by the City Council and in keeping with set sustainability and energy efficiency guidelines.
The building resolves the functional programme by establishing a close dialogue with the public spaces that surround it. Taking advantage of the different levels between the streets and the existing square a direct relationship is established between the functioning of the building and its urban surroundings. On the south facade the building enters into a dialogue with a square that features an old chimney and a new walkway that connects with the historical centre located above.
The building’s irregular floor plan has been adapted to fit in with the surrounding buildings and the limits of the land plot. It has two facades looking onto two streets, onto the existing square and the back of the building looks onto an open patio.
The housing programme consists of apartments, all of them with cross ventilation, built mainly on three floors, and a 4th floor at the south end. The car park consists of three underground floors and extends underneath the square. Taking advantage of the drop between the street and the square, a ventilated facade was designed made of vertical galvanised steel slats which ensure natural ventilation for the car park.
Two entrances located at either end of the building as well as a winding corridor that looks onto the indoor patio lead to the different apartments. With a view to housing a wide diversity of users, different types of homes have been planned that range from 45, 60, 70 to 90 m² in size. On the ground floor there are various spaces set aside for installations, commercial premises that look onto the square and the duplex homes which border with the indoor patio.
A gallery running all along the East, South and West facades, cladded with movable aluminium slat shutters, provides a ventilated and protected terrace for each home unit. This shutter system ensures privacy and protection from the sun on the facades with more direct sunlight. It is a modular, dynamic and constantly changing covering which changes every day depending on each user’s visual and lighting needs.
The building was designed to meet sustainability and eco-efficiency guidelines and guarantees cross ventilation in all the home units, uses dry construction systems for interior layout, trespa type prefabricated panels on the facade, solar control systems on the facades, rainwater collection and greywater recycling. In order to make the building energy efficient a mixed heating system has been installed using solar panels and gas, which feeds the sanitary hot water and heating circuits.