Azalea ● Valencia, Spain
University ● Polytechnic University of Valencia
Task ● Closing Gaps, Valencia
About the team
Azalea is the team representing the Polytechnic University of Valencia in the international Solar Decathlon Europe 21/22 competition. We are a team of more than thirty students, who work every day from different approaches with a common goal: to develop the most efficient and sustainable housing in Europe.
The Azalea team represents the need to generate a change in the way of living, combining technology and sustainability to create a new model of sustainable housing.
We participated for the first time in the Solar Decathlon Europe in 2019 and we won first prize in Architecture, second prize in Energy Efficiency and third prize in Engineering and Construction but we wanted more.
That is why we present Escalà, our new project for the SDE 21/22, focused on El Cabanyal, one of the most historic neighbourhoods in Valencia.
We develop a standardised and scalable sustainable housing solution that could be adapted to all the plots in the neighbourhood. But mostly a project that responds to the needs of the residents, working to create a social housing project that is accessible and adaptable to them.
the main idea
With the aim of filling in the existing lots and recovering the life of the neigbourhood for its inhabitants, it is proposed to improve the public housing stock with a system of socialhousing, and once the housing problem is solved, we propose an urban improvement of the neighbourhood to recover the life and the relationship in the street. The proposal aims to cover the maximum number of people afected avoiding speculation and creating a housing typology able to adapt and grow according to the needs of the place and its inhabitants.
opportunity to fill gaps
One of the advantages of the neighbourhood when it comes to filling gaps is its urban fabric. As El Cabanyal emerged from the first barracas settlements, it provides an orthogonal grid where the dimension of the lots are always combinations between the dimension of the barraca (6.40m) and the escalà (1.36 m).
The sociological conditions of El Cabanyal made it difficult to have a house for each inhabitant, so sometimes it was proposed to divide the land of the barracas in two of them. The new constructions gave rise to the current traditional typology of the neighbourhood: one-, two- and three-storey brick buildings.
The identity of the project was born from the recovery of the escalà and its incorporation to the use of the house. This volume is established as an exterior space that regulates the temperature of the interior and can be opened or closed to maintain comfort. At the same time, it is designed as an external courtyard with vegetation, a common space for communication or for accessing upper dwellings.
This system has led to the current subdivision of the neighbourhood, which is characterised by the variety of facade widths of the dwellings.
The texts were written by the teams themselves and will be updated during the competition.