Barcelona , Spain Environment and Resource efficiency, Target groups of housing
Responsible Housing Award


The aim of the project is to build public rental housing for elderly people, with services adapted to their needs regarding mobility and accessibility. This building must accommodate senior citizens on a lifetime rent basis that correspond to low income social segments of the population. A fee is paid that is adapted to the users’ personal income and services (health, food, etc.), depending on their situation and personal autonomy. Due to this situation, the architectural project is sensitive to the economic circumstances of its inhabitants and favours easy maintenance and clear energy efficiency of the apartments. Priority was given to passive energy control measures to ensure residents’ comfort and facilitate subsequent self-service and to avoid difficult complexities for the administration to manage. Finally, it seeks to promote spaces of relationship both outside and inside the building to favour social and recreational activities for residents which improve their physical and mental well-being as well as being an element of social cohesion with the existing fabric of the neighbourhood. In conclusion, the final project takes advantage of all opportunities that the site plan and the urban approach offer. Its architectural resolution has an active and passive environmental attitude during the useful life of the building as well as a social attitude.


The siteplan is located in a singular area near Collserola’s range. The urban fabric has low density, mixed between small scale isolated family housing and educational and sanitation facilities of bigger scale. One of the issues addressed in the implementation of the project, was
the adaptation to the urban fabric and topographical context. The overall goal is to follow the PassivHaus criteria using an adequate ventilation strategy, thermal insulation, PassivHaus windows, airtightness and thermal bridge reduced design. It is carried out with particular emphasis on the simplicity of use of the measures by the inhabitants.

Thus, an L shaped building was proposed, aligned to the streets and open towards the best orientation and views, where most of dwellings look out to the south or southeast. A main core with stairs and elevators, and a secondary evacuation stair, give access to a total of 44 dwellings, two of them adapted. The adaptation to the topography allowed for the creation of two big communal spaces, where elderly people will be able to enjoy open air activities. The first one, located on the first floor, is a terrace with direct relation to the garden, and the other, on the third floor, connects with the laundry and the roof.

Issues tackled

The main innovative element of the project is the implementation of passive energy control measures that facilitate its use and maintenance and generate a minimal ecological footstep making the building environmentally friendly. Moreover, the integration of the senior citizens in a consolidated residential area was a major success. One follow-up will be to integrate the passive energy control measures into regular practices by the public administration. Another follow-up will be to implement the social measures in other neighbourhoods so as to improve the quality of life of the elderly people as well as create a more heterogeneous society.


✚ Innovative affordable rent concept for the specific target group of elderly people.
✚ Public rental housing with services adapted to the needs of the tenants.
✚ Building accommodates senior citizens on a lifetime rent basis that corresponds to low income social segments of the population.
✚ Fee is paid adapted to the users’ personal income and services (health, food, etc.), which at a given time may be needed depending on their situation and personal autonomy.
✚ Artistic design and simplicity of use for the residents.

Why it works

The impact of the project was measured by evaluations done by the public administration involved in promoting social rental housing for elderly people using passive energy control measures. One of the main benefits is the generation of a minimal ecological footstep of the building and, at the same time, the integration of simple control measures.Key success factors of the project are as follow:

▶ The efficiency of the passive energy control measures;
▶ The design of the common spaces inside and outside the
building which favour social interaction/meetings;
▶ The comfort of interior adaptations of the apartments,
helping inhabitants call the new space their home.


Follow us on
Back to top
Back to top