Prof co-designs acclaimed social housing tower in Barcelona, Spain

Miguel Roldan

Miguel Roldan

The Placa Europa, a new social housing tower in Barcelona, co-designed by Miguel Roldán, an adjunct professor of architecture for the Texas A&M’s study abroad program in Spain, overcomes the strictures of regulatory protocols to the extent that it’s “hard to believe this is social housing,” wrote an architecture critic.

In the August/September issue of Mark, an architecture magazine, Rafael Gomez-Moriana, an adjunct associate professor of architecture at the University of Calgary’s environmental design program in Barcelona, wrote that Roldan and his fellow designer Mercé Berengué had to deal with a room size conundrum created by Spanish regulators.

“The maximum dimensions happen to be almost equal to the minimum ones, leaving little margin for architectural maneuver,” wrote Gomez-Moriana.

But maneuver they did, he wrote, designing an elegant facade and a generous lobby.

“The program was packed as densely as possible into the given building envelope descending from the top floor down, allowing the ground floor communal entrance lobby to become a larger interior street of sorts,” he wrote. “On the exterior, three-story high groupings of deeply recessed windows give the fifteen story tower the appearance of containing only five floors, a nod to the traditional lower buildings nearby.”

Roldan, who specializes in intermediate-scale projects in urban and landscape-rural contexts, is interested in interdisciplinary design and collaborative projects by architects, landscape architects, urban designers, biologists, engineers and philosophers.

More about his work is available at the R+B website.

Gomez-Moriana’s comments in Mark magazine are in his blog.

posted May 19, 2011