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Universidad de Las Palmas de Gran Canaria

Cohousing and Kindergarten
El Risco de San Nicolás; a hardly accessible historical favela-like suburb of Gran Canaria, Canary Islands (Spain), shows significant social and urban deficiencies. Triana, the wealthy district located just one street away, stands as the commercial and social center of the city. The Avenue Primero de Mayo, with high corporate buildings, serves as a clear physical border that emphasizes the differences between the two neighbourhoods. The project wants to take advantage of its location to become a hinge between two worlds.

The social and urban strategy consists of the concept of lifting the buildings, “the void” being a key element in the design, responds to the current urban deficiencies on three scales: City, Neighbourhood and Building, improving accessibility between both districts, reactivating the neighbourhood and providing the buildings with spaces for social encounter.

The concept of “oblique sight” is the key element that links the project from Triana (0m) to El Risco (+24m). The goal of the project is to design of two necessary facilities for San Nicolás: A Kindergarten and a Cohousing for the elderly. This intervention intends to make a change at the urban level in order to enhance the public space.

The Kindergarten, designed as a group of volumes

floating in an empty space,

is configured according to a structure that best serves the needs of the children as well as the urban strategy. Classrooms are configured as floating volumes, organized in a vertical and topological order that relates to the age of the children, improving the relationships among them. The groundfloor level is designed as a void to give the neighbourhood a new green space and to provide children with a garden under their classrooms, helping their creative and motor development through playful interaction with nature.

Collective living, involvement in the neighbourhood life, the rooftops of the houses as spaces to form relationships... The street becomes a part of the domestic area, the domestic area becomes a part of the street as an exterior projection of the dwelling, the chairs on the street at the entrance of the houses inviting the neighbours to conversation... popular traditions propitiated by the climate. The cohousing endorses this way of living outwards, close to the private realm but with public dimension.

The project, inspired by neighbourhood traditions, proposes covered spaces at the entrances of the dwellings, ready to be domesticated and by the neighbours. The ground floor (la plaza) is configured in two levels visually connected, a new place for social interaction.