Author: Daniel Dickson
Urban Living Rooms
Studio: ARCS 5032 – MArch 1 – Studio 2
Professors: Zachary Colbert and Stephan Kowal
Year: Winter 2020
In designing housing for vulnerable migrants in Barcelona’s El Poblenou district, a question persisted: what can a building offer a population experiencing dispossession, trauma and invisibility? It must provide consistency, stability, respite. It must act as a community’s living room.
Over two infill plots, housing embraces, spans, shades and delineates exterior ‘rooms’ to be appropriated by residents and passersby from the wider city. The Southern site, with expandable market, caters to new migrants seeking immediate lodging. The lively environment offers a needed chance to establish new connections. The Northern site meanwhile is partially closed from the street; it is for those now settled, with room for business and Bocce.
The vision of the Living Room was further applied on a reduced scale. Groupings of apartments maintain, via localized exterior stairs, shared semi-private rooftop rooms for laundry, barbeque, and play. The formation of viable micro-communities is promoted in each group through a diversity and flexibility of unit typologies catering to the needs of families, young adults, and the elderly.
Urban Living Rooms envisions a highly-imageable haven with the tools for a displaced people to reroot, to heal, and to affirm their place in the city.