Architect Office: Elisa Valero Ramos
Location: Lancha del Genil, Granada, Spain
Area: 561.8 sqm
Photographs: Fernando Alda
Technical Architect: María de los Llanos Martín Romero
Constructor: IMES. S.A.
Structure: Elisa Valero Ramos, Leonardo Tapiz Buzarra
Southeast of the city, where building is sparser in contact with the last foothills of the Sierra Nevada, is the neighborhood of Lancha del Genil. That is where this Polyvalent Social Center is located. It provides a shared space for the development of neighborhood life, a place for activities to meet, a hybrid between indoors and out, an ambiguous space in which lines of force cross and emptiness takes on its own value.
In that sense, this work is not conceived as a building, but as a knot, both in its program—it is the quintessential space for meeting—and in its manner of tying in the space in order to articulate two topographic levels and two differing situations. The trapezoidal building site is on a hillside near the Sanctuary of Our Lady of Fatima. It has a southward drop of 5 meters. The project is on the edge where mountain and city meet and it resolves this by adapting itself to the topography to resolve the design in a straightforward, flexible and rational way. The building’s layout follows the perimeter like a retaining wall in order to minimize its presence on the upper floor, so that the public space, an observation gallery, plays the leading role in the urban scene.
The program is clearly differentiated in two parts, articulating the terrain’s drop as separate floors with independent access from the higher and lower streets, respectively. Both levels are linked inside by a running stairway and an elevator, but each can function independently and with different opening hours. The south façade opens onto a street with two-story single-family homes and has an urban character.
The lower floor has two larger multiuse spaces and three offices in which the sun is easily controlled by high, narrow openings in the stone wall. On the upper floor, the offices open onto a garden, protected to the west by vertical slats. At the top of the building, the main hall opens to the mountain range with a single opening through which, after moving through the building, we rediscover how it fits into its surroundings.