Public housing in Chipiona

Architects: Gabriel Verd, Simone Solinas
Collaborators: Eduardo Vázquez (arquitecto técnico), Santiago Bermejo (estructuras), Federico Farina, Rafael Ruiz Gil (arquitectos), Ronit Shmaryahu (maqueta)
Year: 2005 (concurso), 2006 - 2009 (proyecto), 2016 (construcción)
Customer: Empresa Municipal CAEPIONIS, S.L. (Ayuntamiento de Chipiona)
Built area: 2.046,15 m2 (viviendas), 1.385,85 m2 (garaje), 448 m2 (urbanización)
Budget: 1.245.045 €
Photography: Jesús Granada

A plot was available in an old slaughterhouse that had to be demolished, next to the cemetery, in an area with a low-income population.

The project arises from the need to accommodate families with difficulties that irregularly occupied the ruins of the old slaughterhouse in Chipiona. It´s important to point that this plot was located next to the village cemetery.

During these long years of work and municipal management (more than 10) the area has become a place of pilgrimage. Hundreds of people honor the most popular folk artist from Spain, native of the town and who is buried in the nearby cemetery.

With a population of 19,000 inhabitants Chipiona is also one of the oldest summer resort towns of Andalusia that multiply by 10 its inhabitants in summer. It has a typical historic center of the coast of Cadiz and it rivals with the Capital thanks to its apartment blocks in the recent decades. The main attractions of the town are beaches and fish corrals.

The plot

With an area of almost 1.500 sqm, the plot is located in the north-east of Chipiona. It had three facades which faced the street and another one that had to be wrapped. The front door of the old slaughterhouse was in Río Guadiana street, right to the opposite side of the cemetery. We kept the main entrance on that front, with the pedestrian access, and for the other one, we exploit the setback from the street to obtain a gardened parterre. The access door is dignified by aromatic plants and lattice, marking the main entrance of the residential complex.

Opposite to the previous entrance, in San José St and in front of the cemetery, a shared access for vehicles and pedestrians is located. The shaft that causes these two entrances is formalized in an inner street with a small square. This space serves as a distribution, meeting and staying area and entertain community around the benches that limit the parterres. It provides peace, possibility to care flowers (as usual in the town), enjoying the evening get-together with neighbours, watering plants and watching children playing…not so long time ago we used to live like this, staying in neighbourhood yards, like a big family.

The dwellings are arranged following strict criteria of maximum floor use, minimizing the surface of common uses. Bathrooms are disposed in the central band of the structure to optimize installations and minimize costs. The inner houses are treated as the external ones, since the inside part of the plot is thought to be a private square, useful and well formalized space, not as a residual one.

Formal technical specifications and construction systems of the proposal has been mapped out to satisfy the typical social housing economic standards and quality, making life of future users of the building, aesthetically and functionally pleasing.

It has been taken into account the good integration of the project into the urban context and its adaptation to the environmental conditions, materials of the area, aesthetic composition of architecture and ways of living in Chipiona.
Inside, there will be whitewashed walls, cheerful red windows and bright yellow portals in complete harmony with the deep blue sky of Cadiz; besides looking towards the street a ascetic image is revealed without stridency… the cemetery is near.