Drawing © STAR strategies + architecture
Drawing © STAR strategies + architecture
Drawing © STAR strategies + architecture
Photo © STAR strategies + architecture
Drawing © STAR strategies + architecture
Photo © STAR strategies + architecture
Picture © STAR strategies + architecture
Visualization © STAR strategies + architecture
Picture © STAR strategies + architecture
Picture © STAR strategies + architecture

Secret Spaces

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Designing in section, not in plan.

Spain has suffered in recent years from an incredible rise in the cost per square metre of housing. Housing regulations are adapting to allow smaller minimum apartment sizes as it becomes more and more unaffordable to buy. To fight against this increasing cost per m2, we propose a real growth of the volume (m3) without increasing the floor area (m2). The plan will remain as small as possible, while finding new opportunities in the section to generate Secret Spaces. They provide the necessary space to “store functions”, rather than to house program. This fact will provide the possibility of programming the central space of the house with many uses by storing in the Secret Spaces all the objects that are not necessary at any given time. We started by designing completely in section, rather than in plan. The big central space offers an enormous flexibility because it can be emptied or filled in just a few seconds. Therefore, in the same day it can work as living room, dining room, studio, party room, or gym. The bedrooms are placed at different heights on both sides of the central space so they can have maximum privacy. The apartment has an equipped band of services, which contains the toilet, the shower cabinet, the kitchen, and plenty of storage space at different heights. A stair/furniture piece is provided in each apartment to access one of the bedrooms and the overhead storage. All of the storage, equipment, and services are collected in the band and the Secret Spaces so the central space and the bedroom can work as pure space. We designed apartments for one person and two. The geometry of the section matches in both cases. We think of these units as prototypes that can be grouped in different ways: block, tower, row-housing, etc…

When applying this prototype to 500 University apartments on the Zaragoza campus, we chose to organize the dwellings in a single 100m tall building. It will contribute to the current creation of Zaragoza’s skyline, together with its new World Trade Center, and the Basilica towers. The characteristic geometry of the dwelling section will generate the pattern in the façade of the building. A flat basement hosts the common areas (café, study rooms, flexible auditoriums, kindergarten, gym, and canteen) and articulates the connection between the tower and the ground.

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