18 Protected Rental Housing units by García Torrente Architects S.L.P. + A. Hidalgo + F. Folliason

Garcia Torrente arquitectos en tant que Architectes.

Urban context La Plazuela de Santiago is located in the historic center of the city of Carmona on a hill at 248m above sea level overlooking the valley of Corbones River (a tributary of the Guadalquivir), silting one edge of the old walled city that ran from the current gate of Sevilla (Al- Burg al- Agamm ), gate of Morón (Bad Yami ), gate of Córdoba and to the no longer gate of Samarmala. Even if the archaeological remains confirm the existence of a population since the third millennium B.C.,it´s not until the first century AD, during the occupation of the Roman Empire, that Carmona witnesses the thriving of the city, due largely to the importance of agricultural production, trade and mainly for being one of the population centers through which runs the Via Augusta, hence the municipality has an important and numerous archaeological heritage of Roman times.


Description of the site Access to the site is done mainly from the current Plaza de Santiago to a small inlet of Maria Auxiliadora Street called Plazuela de Santiago: a small square consists of two buildings and a front corner which is the only existing facade of the plot. The plot of 1354 m2, forms an irregular polygon of 24 sides sharecroppers, of which only one, of 10.90m in length, belong to the exterior facade of the building. Topographically the site is quite hilly, presenting longitudinally east-west, a difference of + 4.66m . In the different cross-sections, the height difference is of a more homogeneous terrain.


Originally, on the site there were a number of buildings (three in total) intended for the use of collective housing, with the very building typology of carmonenses income housing and moronense Moorish style, connected to the outer space through a historic walkway that allowed access to the heart of the block. After the project of archaeological intervention consisting in the study of subsurface structures and vertical surfaces that are still on their feet, the Municipal Archaeological Service issued a report communicating the importance of the remained structures (the facade and two interior walls) and specifying that they were executed by factory Toledo bonding brick with drawers masonry, the openingas were ornamented by ogee arches around and carpaneles other and that both the factory and the typology of the arcs responded to a fairly accurate chronology (late XV century begining of XVI century) corresponding to the reign of the Catholic Monarchs, hence its significant importance. Due to the time between the preparation of this archaeological report and the start of construction time, the state of deterioration of pre-existing conditions was widespread, forcing as a first step an mergency to its propping. With the structures already shored, we proceeded to previous demolition work annexed parts that lacked equity (plasters, pieces of walls and partitions), the underpinning of foundations that had given way, the chopped and cleaned of coatings in order to detect cracks and crevices of the different factories of stone and brick and repair them. That left the rest of the building under coatings, the finish of the same, using traditional methods and techniques such as the use of lime mortars and bonding (of damaged areas) of the same type as the existing one.


Project Idea: Given the rapid expansion of territory that has occurred in the last century and in which have participated a large number of architects, today more than ever, the recycling and the reusing of existing structures is also a duty and the only viable solution towards a society more honest and sustainable, especially when those structures are carriers of assets that are necessary to be preserved, protected and transmited to future generations. In this sense, the project posed as a basic premise, the question of conservation and recovery of the existing structures Starting from a complicated, rugged and tortuous geometry of the site, where there are a number of pre-existing conditions, rationalization of space arises by arranging three volumes U-shaped, facing south, west and north, respectively.It forms the three main outdoor public spaces, from which access to the respective homes and organize collective life of the neighborhood. The union of these volumes together and spaces of contacts between them and the medians, are solved by incorporating pieces of smaller geometric and volumetric entity ( that organize living spaces but do not compete with the visual impact of the above) inserted with small courtyards for ventilation and lighting for private use of the houses. If the ground and first floors may seem less illuminating, plant cover clearly expresses the idea ofthe project.


The whole constitutes a social venue for the district and 18 houses, 4 of two bedrooms, 13 of three bedrooms and 1 of four bedrooms. With surfaces ranging from 50 to 77 sq meters. It is a housing project, where the ground has been assigned by the council and the work funded by the Junta de Andalucía (the government of the autonomous community ). The homes are owned by the Government of Andalusia to rent to families with low income.

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