La Balma
by Lacol & La Boqueria

La Balma is the housing project of the cooperative, Sostre Cívic, designed and developed by Lacol and La Boqueria in the Poblenou district in Barcelona.

The project seeks to expand the stock of affordable housing, taking into account the available resources, the cost of construction and use of the building in its useful life, thinking about the final economic impact for the user.

In addition, the building aims to avoid energy poverty by reducing the cost of housing comfort by more than 50%.

During the competition phase, a socio-economic diagnosis of the population group and a participatory process were made to work on and reach a consensus proposal, in which the user and the community play a leading role.

For the authors, the building is the infrastructure that accompanies them and allows them to evolve freely from three social spheres: the neighbourhood, the community, housing.

Community spaces, distributed in height on all floors of the building, and circulations are designed to enhance human relationships, spontaneous encounters, and cooperative activities throughout the building.

The building has 20 units, designed from a grid of 16m² open pieces that coincide with the laminated wood structure. These pieces allow very diverse divisions and distributions, allowing the user to decide on their spaces.

On the ground floor there is a communal kitchen-dining room, space for bicycles and workshop open to the neighbourhood, the lobby and two commercial spaces managed by the cooperative. In the other floors the program is distributed in small rooms, enhancing internal circulation.

Each house starts from a fully equipped 50m² base, corresponding to the small typologies (S), that can be extended with one or two pieces, becoming types M or L.

The main climatic strategy is to reduce the demand on the consumption of the building by offering comfort and equitable acoustics despite the different conditions of each floor, for this reason the building responds with a changing section.

The building has two types of structure that optimise the functions of each material, cost, speed of construction and environmental impact. It combines a reinforced concrete structure in contact with the ground and a laminated wood structure, offering comfort, healthy spaces and achieving a better environmental impact on the whole building.

Finally, the fully accessible roof is understood as the outer space of the cooperative or spaces of socialisation and rest. A terrace of more than 300m² that the neighbours will be able to equip with productive orchards, space of shade and recreation.

The pieces that allow this extension are spaces managed by the cooperative. This management allows a real flexibility of the system, and the houses appropriate them individually or shared.

Author Lacol and La Boqueria
Year 2017
Client Sostre Cívic
Location Barcelona, Spain
Collaborators Societat Orgànica and PauS (environmental consultancy), Arkenova (engineering)
Photography Oriol Gómez Cuberes (2,9) and Milena Villalba (1,3,4,5,6,7,8)

La Comunal Le Mesnil de Stains Casa Fevi Interior RA Double Brick House Mo-tel House Pasodoble

a project powered by Itinerant Office

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