March 29, 2012
a+t research group selected 14 case studies of collective housing for the book Density is Home. Today, we begin a series of 6 posts about that publication. The first post features the Monte Hacho Housing project, by MGM, in Ceuta, Spain.
The initial proposal was awarded first prize in the Europan competition for young architects and consisted of a total of 127 dwellings, of which 84 were finally built. The complex is split into smaller groups which are set into the existing rock quarries and which are separated by common squares for access. There are two types of units: single-family semi-detached courtyard houses, and high-rise units, one-storey or maisonette, whose distribution is easily interchangeable depending on the orientation of each of the 6 towers.
Outdoor spaces occupy 32% of the surface of each dwelling. This situation invites users to trespass the boundary between inside and outside, taking over outside space as interior. The deepness of balconies, which in originally served to protect against the strong winds of the Gibraltar Strait, has incited alteration of the spaces after the arrival of residents.
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