2001-2005 Social Housing, locals and public offices in Sanchinarro, Madrid


The constructed block of social houses is one of the new quarters situated in the outskirts of Madrid, planned by the city hall for big and closed blocks for only residential purposes, lack of urban density, with no shops in the ground floors, and streets out of scale, as some of the main mistakes of this urban design.

olmos ochoa arquitectos’ studio won a restricted competition organised by EMV (in Spanish, municipal housing enterprise). Our first decision was to open the building to the neighbourhood and to be part of the city. Therefore, three passages connect the huge and green central courtyard to the surrounding streets; the ground floor towards the street was designed with shops, and also a new public facility was provided with its entrance from a common pedestrian passage. Moreover, the parking cellar, which was designed with that shape in order to let the growing of the trees, has a unique entrance for cars, but three exits to the common courtyard. These decisions were taken to let the owners, in their way to their dwellings, to create a common life, to participate, share and contribute their experiences with their neighbours. Besides, all the dwellings are provided with wide terraces or loggias that users would enjoy, and they also face the huge patio where children can play. The tall trees and a green hill give the courtyard a natural look and create different areas for different activities. 

The ideas after this project try to answer some of today’s questions. There are many changes in the way of contemporary living and architecture must adapt to these changes.