This article presents an analysis of a collective housing project designed by the architects Emilia Bisquert Santiago, Carmen González Lobo, Jose Miguel de Prada Poole and Ricardo Aroca in the Arturo Soria neighbourhood in Madrid in 1975. This project is noteworthy for its architects’ preference for designing flexible and adaptable spaces, both in the interior distribution of the homes spaces and in the common spaces of the building itself. Their main aim was to eliminate the rigid spatial segregation that was a dominant feature of Spanish housing estates promoted by the OSH (House Building Union) during the Franco Regime (1939–1975). To understand this idea, this research proposes a comparison between a Housing Estate promoted by the OSH in 1956 and the Arturo Soria building designed in 1975. The article explains and analyses the different architectural strategies that the architects proposed to achieve that flexibility and adaptability: a permanent structural ‘infrastructure,’ an intermediate architectural system adaptable over time, and finally, a range of possible configurations for the individual dwelling. Another important issue is the relationship between the construction system and alternative development of both horizontal and vertical living space. Explaining this relationship could help shape the habitability of future homes, the development of a sense of community, the possibility of designing for tenancies of different lengths and needs and the management of constant changes to a collective society.
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