Ábalos+Sentkiewicz Arquitectos

Solar Tower . Sociópolis

Ábalos+Sentkiewicz Arquitectos . photos: © José Hevia . + archdaily

The Solar Tower in Sociópolis, Valencia, is born out of the same initial sketch-idea as the La Chapelle Tower, in an attempt to move social housing away from the anonymous recurrent iconographies, exploring the possibilities of a tower which dematerializes at its top multiplying exterior and interior spaces with their own identity

The use of a reflective materiality and geometry with a growing curvilinear matrix, allows playing with the reflections, leading the look to the crucial point of a tall building, a model widely experimented in the American city, for which the Giralda Tower often served as a reference.
The vertical typologies, while ensuring sun exposure, decisively promote cross ventilation, an environmental strategy that in the humid and sunny weather of Valencia becomes the essential passive strategy. At the same time, the financing of social housing which is based on the appropriate use of interior square meters makes almost unviable the strategies using spaces and intermediate filters.
Linked to the understanding that the housing is rent based, where the costs of construction and especially the maintenance should be minimized, the most effective strategies and the ones that allow you to enjoy the panoramic views from the tower, ­are the ones that allow the reduction of heat gains through ventilated and reflective walls, intensify cross ventilation through the double orientation of the houses and tight proportioned, high thermal performance glass windows that can be opened in their full surface.

The construction system, studied in detail by a physical analysis of the building, allows taking advantage of Valencia´s great periods of climatic comfort, an average of three hundred days of passive comfort in the houses. The reduction of costs due to rationalization of the facade allows the incorporation of an individual winter / summer acclimatization for extreme days (divided between calories and kilocalories to the average of fifty percent).This precise management of resources achieves an integral comfort with a minimal environmental impact and a maximum use of the physical and landscape characteristics of vertical construction. (The building has obtained the highest environmental IVE (Valencian institute of energy) profile qualification).
Definitely, the project seeks an agreement between the initial goal of providing a unique identity to the housing, and taking care of its comfort and maintenance result of a technical and thermodynamic lecture of the location, avoiding the classical “social” configurations, whether contained or from a metaphoric environmentalism.

Architects: Ábalos+Sentkiewicz Arquitectos
Location: Sociópolis, Valencia, Spain
Project Directors: Iñaki Ábalos, Renata Sentkiewicz
Project Team: Alfonso Miguel (coordination), Laura Torres, Jorge Álvarez-Builla, Víctor Garzón, Pablo de la Hoz, Ismael Martín, Luis Matanzo, Jens Richter, David Sobrino, José Rodríguez
Area: 10,080 sqm
Year: 2012

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