The apartment building with 30 rental units for young people is located at the eastern edge of the Carabanchel development. Like other new urban districts in Madrid, this zone is characterized —with its oversized street grid, isolated buildings, unoccupied parcels, empty apartments and vacant shops— by the abrupt change from the booming market of 10 years ago to the present economic crisis.
The building was designed and built during the transition between these two moments, a small parcel anchored between two larger, contradictory housing operations. Given this difficult context and the limited budget, the form of the building assumes multiple interpretations with respect to its urban character in these times of change. First, it is an introverted volume, a cube distinguished by voids in the facades that undermine the rigid contours of the volume, and engage the space around it. Secondly, its thick skin, dark and wrinkled as that of an elephant, holds large openings that allow the interior broad views of the adjacent landscape. Finally, its design is rigorous and compact, and its floor plan —composed with a series of crossing bands that contain structure, mechanical spaces, kitchens, bathrooms and closets (the service spaces) — possesses a dynamism creating a variety of domestic spaces.
The ground floor is open, providing a shared space protected from the sun and rain. A series of common rooms —a meeting room, collective bicycle storage, play spaces and the laundry terrace— complement the dense living areas and contribute to a sense of community and belonging that ensures the future of the project.