Lasarte-Oria (ES)


Project scale L/S - urban + architecture / architecture + context

Location Lasarte-Oria (Gipuzkoa)

Population 18,152 inhabitants

Strategic site 68.84 ha - Project site 2.34 ha 

Site proposed by Lasarte-Oria Municipal Council; Environment, Land Planning and Housing Dept., Basque Government

Actors involved Lasarte-Oria Municipal Council; Environment, Land Planning and Housing Dept., Basque Government

Owner of the site Public ownership

Commission after competition Planning and/or project development and construction project

Team representative Architect - urbanist accompanied by biologist - landscaper

More Information

How can the site contribute to a productive city?

The aim for this site is to generate an alternative to the current polarisation of uses in the surrounding area, where residential and production activities are adjacent but in uncomfortable coexistence. The locality is eminently rural, an intrinsic value of the area. Homes and production have always been integrated, initially in the form of family farms and later on, housing linked to industry. Reminders of both situations can be found around the site. It is surrounded by areas used for livestock farming and also social housing, an urban replica of the 19th century factory workers’ dwellings.
The aim for Europan 15 is to study ways to update this symbiosis of residential and production uses with a view to fostering harmonised coexistence and mutual enrichment.

City strategy

This area is influenced by the orography of the valley. It is also heavily affected by major transport infrastructure and the industries that fill its privileged lower zones. It is close to territory-scale infrastructure (a prison and an incinerator plant) and sports uses linked to the 19th century nobility’s summer sojourns on the coast (a racetrack).
In this context, housing has evolved from a symbiotic coexistence with industry to the occupation of the left-over land on the hillsides overlooking the valley. Nevertheless, the older, more traditional type of home —caserío or farmhouse— still persists, an authentic vernacular type of productive family home, scattered across the area on rural agricultural/livestock farming properties. In this heavily constrained territory, the aim is to insert a considerable amount of social housing (100 units), on a plot on the outer edge of the urban fabric. It will therefore be necessary to weave the proposal into the adjacent neighbourhoods and actions.

Site definition

The Oria-Gain area, in the Southern part of the Lasarte-Oria municipality, is quite close to Donostia-San Sebastián. Although it is near the A-1 motorway and the Oria River, which predominate the urbanized backbone along the valley, it still preserves a rural atmosphere on the North-facing slope of Mount Buruntza. The scenic values, which should be taken into consideration in planning proposals, include natural watercourses and forests.
The plot is a privileged viewpoint overlooking the surrounding landscape. Precisely for this reason, there is a substantial height difference between the site and the nearby housing developments. Its access and connection to the rest of the municipality must therefore be resolved. The extension of the operation to the steep slope is feasible. The challenge is to make the most of the natural features of the area and produce a natural blend with the urban fabric, facilitating connections with the neighbouring districts.

How is production inserted in the urban diversity programme?

Housing and production seem to be two antagonistic concepts, given the idiosyncrasies of each one and the fact that they have traditionally had a difficult coexistence, usually prioritising the former at the expense of the latter. Today, however, the concept of "production" has changed, largely thanks to the breakdown of barriers with new technologies. In an area where large-scale production has a prominent presence and has clearly made its mark on the area, the aim is to investigate options for a different type of production model that is compatible and on equal terms with housing.
Proposals should look for formulae that facilitate production in context of the home, using a dual-focus approach: from an analysis of the social housing typology as such to the design of an appropriate urban environment that promotes and facilitates production from the home or its immediate environs. The aim is therefore to investigate ways in which architecture and urban planning can encourage production that is intimately linked to residential spaces.


Bird's eye view of the project site
Overview of the surrounding areas of the project site


Surrounding Social Housing
Rural environment from the project site

Questions on the site

Can you provide a topographic map of the surroundings of the site? ¿Pueden proporcionar un plano topográfico del entorno de la parcela?

We have uploaded the complete topographic map that includes the competition site and the western hillside reaching the social housing border.
As we have already discussed in the BRIEF, this slopping space is a rustic plot, a no-build space and it is largely treated as a forest.
Even so, the city council has informed us that it would be possible to implement actions on it in order to achieve, above all, the proper union of the planned actions with the adjacent neighborhoods.
So, passageways or accessibility urban elements but not residential buildings as such should be considered.

 Se ha adjuntado a la documentación el topográfico completo, que incluye la parcela del concurso y ladera situada al oeste, hasta el límite con las viviendas sociales. Como se ha indicado en el BRIEF y en la presentación de Madrid, este espacio en pendiente es parcela rústica, no edificable y tiene tratamiento de bosque en gran parte. Aun así, el propio ayuntamiento nos ha transmitido que sería posible actuar en ella, sobre todo para poder conseguir una correcta unión de la actuación proyectada con los barrios vecinos. Por tanto, se podrán plantear elementos urbanos de paso, accesibilidad, etc., pero no edificio de viviendas como tal.

100 parking spaces are requested on the private plot. Can they be located in the basement?  Se piden 100 plazas de garaje en parcela privada. ¿Pueden ubicarse en planta sótano?


Of course, they be located in the basement; probably this is the best option. In any case, what is important, as it has been said in the BRIEF, is that they must be located on the private plot, since it is necessary to provide for another 70 parking places on public roads. 

Por supuesto, pueden ir en sótano; probablemente esa sea la mejor opción. En cualquier caso, tal y como se ha dicho en el BRIEF, lo fundamental es que deben situarse en la parcela privada, ya que hay que prever otras 70 plazas de aparcamiento en vía pública.

Is there any type of building height limit? ¿Existe algún tipo de límite de altura edificatoria?

In EUROPAN 15 competition, no limitation regarding the building height has been established. Currently, some limitations concerning height are valid. They have not been provided to participants, since it is understood that there should not be any limitation to creativity. After the competition, the Urban Planning in force in the plot will be adapted to the winning solution, always within an understanding with the municipal criteria 

En lo que al concurso se refiere, no existe ningún tipo de limitación establecida en cuanto a la altura edificatoria. Actualmente están vigentes unas limitaciones de altura que no se han aportado a los concursantes, ya que se entiende que no debe haber ninguna limitación a la creatividad. Posteriormente al concurso, se adaptará el Planeamiento Urbanístico vigente en la parcela a la solución ganadora, siempre dentro de un entendimiento con los criterios municipales

Is it possible to build a bridge for vehicles to cross the irrigation channels existing in the project site? Is it possible to bury the irrigation channels?

¿Es posible construir un puente para vehículos para cruzar las regatas que existen en el área de proyecto? ¿Es posible enterrar las regatas?

Both options must be approved by the Basque Government and no appropriate answer could be given before knowing the solution proposed. Even so, an approximate indication is given below. In principle, there is no restriction on the building of traffic elements, either pedestrian or vehicular, to cross the irrigation channels of the project site. The pedestrian bridge does not seem to present any major problems. However, the necessary infrastructure required to build a vehicular bridge would cover a large area of watercourses. This option is more problematic from an administrative point of view. As for the possibility to bury the irrigation channels, we can anticipate that the current general criterion of the Administration is to leave irrigation channels open air. So, unless completely essential for the urban development of the site, a solution leaving irrigation channels as they are now or, in any case, diverting them above ground will be better received by policy makers. 

Ambas opciones deben ser aprobadas por la administración del Gobierno Vasco, y no se podrá dar una opinión adecuada hasta conocer la solución propuesta concretamente. Aun así, se va a tratar de dar una aproximación. Inicialmente no hay ninguna limitación para construir elementos de circulación, ya sea peatonal o rodada, para cruzar las regatas del área de proyecto. Entre estas dos opciones, la de un puente peatonal no parece presentar mayores problemas. Sin embargo, la infraestructura necesaria para un puente para vehículos supondría cubrir un área importante de los cauces de agua. Esta opción presenta más problemas desde el punto de vista administrativo. En relación con la posibilidad de enterrar las regatas podemos avanzar que el criterio general actual por parte de la administración es dejar las regatas al aire. Por tanto, salvo que sea totalmente imprescindible para el desarrollo urbano del área, siempre será mejor recibido por los responsables una solución que deje las regatas tal y como están o, en todo caso, las desvíe sin enterrarlas.

The southern part of the project site is practically a forest. Is it possible to build buildings in this area?

La parte sur de área de proyecto es prácticamente un bosque. ¿Es posible construir edificios en esta área?

This possibility is subject to the environmental impact assessment procedure that will be necessary to make as a result of the urban modification adapting the plot to the conditions of the proposal selected. In this procedure, keeping the values of the tree-lined area is likely to be established. Even so, in order not to thwart the creativity of the competition, recommendation would be that, if the decision to build buildings in that area is taken, then an appropriate balance between building and maintenance of natural values must be sought.

Esta posibilidad está supeditada al procedimiento de evaluación ambiental que será necesario realizar con la modificación urbanística que adapte la parcela a las condiciones de la propuesta seleccionada. Es probable que, en dicho procedimiento, se establezca que los valores de la zona arbolada deben mantenerse. Aun así, de cara a no coartar la creatividad del concurso, la recomendación sería que, si se decide construir edificios en esa zona, se procure mantener un adecuado equilibrio entre la edificación y el mantenimiento de los valores naturales.

What are the open spaces of the site (network of General Systems)? Do they include roads, sidewalks, pedestrian and bicycles lanes?

¿Qué son los Espacios libres del ámbito (red de Sistemas Generales)? ¿Incluyen carreteras, aceras, viabilidad peatonal y para bicicletas?

The “open spaces - general system” includes those publicly owned green zones and urban parks for public use serving all the municipality and used to outdoor leisure, recreation and fun activities. This system differs from the “open spaces and green zones- local system” in the fact that this latter refers to green zones more so at district scale, such as parks and gardens as well as pedestrian spaces and squares. Roads, however, are included within the “road local system”, which is different from the first two systems. And pavements and cycle lanes are subject to interpretation, but to give a single criteria for the competition purposes we recommend that the cycle lane should be included within the “road local system”, while pavements can be included within the “open spaces and green zones - local system”.

El “sistema general de espacios libres” comprende las zonas verdes y parques urbanos de dominio y uso público que dan servicio a todo el municipio y que sirven para el ocio, recreo y expansión al aire libre.  Por aclarar las diferencias con el “sistema local de espacios libres y zonas verdes”, éste se refiere a esas zonas verdes más de escala de barrio, parques, jardines, así como los espacios peatonales y las plazas.  Las carreteras, sin embargo, pertenecen al “sistema local viario”, que es distinto de los dos anteriores. Y las aceras y carriles-bici están sujetos a interpretación, pero por dar un criterio único a efectos del concurso recomendamos que el carril-bici se compute como “sistema local viario”, mientras que las aceras pueden ser incluidas en el “sistema local de espacios libres y zonas verdes”.

What is meant by "Local Public Facilities System"? In addition to the "Green zones and open spaces", are there other public facilities that can be considered?

¿Qué se entiende con la definición "Sistema local de dotaciones públicas"?  Además de la "Zonas verdes y espacios libres", ¿hay otras dotaciones públicas que se pueda considerar?

“Public facilities - local system” includes:

- green zones and open spaces such as parks, gardens, pedestrian spaces and squares.

- other public facilities, which means those collective facilities (for educational, cultural, healthcare, sports and administrative purposes) that can refer both to a building but also to a sports field or a children’s playground - parking spaces for vehicles - trees.

El “sistema local de dotaciones públicas” engloba:

- las zonas verdes y espacios libres tales como parques, jardines, espacios peatonales y plazas.

-otras dotaciones públicas, entendiendo como otras dotaciones públicas los equipamientos colectivos (educativos, culturales, sanitarios, deportivos y administrativos) que, si bien puede ser un edificio construido, también puede considerarse como tal una pista deportiva, o un área de juego de niños -las plazas de aparcamiento de vehículos -los árboles

To project the new road for cars, is it possible to build a road outside the project site? For example, is it possible on the plot between Tribunak and Oria-Gain, Bidebietarte and the project site?

Para proyectar la nueva vialidad para los coches, ¿es posible construir una carretera fuera de área de proyecto? Por ejemplo, ¿es posible en la parcela entre Tribunak y Oria-Gain, Bidebietarte y área de proyecto?

In principle, there is no restriction to suggest improvements to the study site of the project, in particular if they are intended to improve access to the project site or if they facilitate connection with the other districts, both being objectives of the competition.  Even so, it must be taken into account that the decision and opportunity to implement those improvements is municipal and that it is the City Council the body that will decide the convenience of implementing them now or in the future. On the other hand, the interest of the Basque Government is to build 100 social housing units and to do it quickly and easily. Therefore, the proposal to build a new road, although possible, should not determine the feasibility of the architectural proposal in an urban situation similar to the current one.

En principio, no hay ninguna limitación para proponer mejoras en el área de reflexión del proyecto, especialmente si van vinculadas a mejorar el acceso al área de proyecto, o si facilitan su conexión con el resto de barrios, ambos objetivos del concurso.  Aun así, hay que tener en cuenta que la decisión y la oportunidad de ejecutar esas mejoras es municipal y es el Ayuntamiento quien decidirá si está interesado en hacerlas, ahora o en el futuro. Por otro lado, el interés del Gobierno vasco es desarrollar la edificación de las 100 viviendas sociales y hacerlo de una manera ágil. Por tanto, el planteamiento de una nueva carretera, aun siendo posible, no debería de condicionar la viabilidad de la propuesta arquitectónica en una situación urbana similar a la actual.

What do you mean by saying 'totally outward-facing' housing units, can you explain in more detail? Can we plan dense row houses with double-orientation, or should each house be open on all four sides, and not physically connected to its neighbors?

The criterion of “totally exterior” housing refers to the fact that housing cannot open to interior spaces such as closed courtyards exclusively. Houses facing open patios, that fulfill the correct conditions of ventilation and sunlight, can be considered as exterior dwellings. This criterion is complemented with prioritizing "double orientation solutions", so as to provide good natural ventilation to dwellings.

Nevertheless, the intention of the competition is to have this criterion as a recommendation. In any case, dwellings that have only north orientation should be avoided since, in principle, they are not allowed by the regulations.

El criterio de viviendas “totalmente exteriores” se refiere a que las viviendas no podrán dar exclusivamente a espacios interiores como patios cerrados. Las viviendas a patios abiertos, que cumplan unas condiciones correctas de ventilación y soleamiento, pueden considerarse viviendas exteriores. Este criterio se complementa con el de primar “soluciones de doble orientación”, con el objetivo deseable de dotar de una buena ventilación natural a las viviendas. 

Dicho esto, la intención del concurso es no ser especialmente estricto con estos criterios, que deberán considerarse como recomendaciones. Aun así, se deben evitar viviendas que tengan únicamente orientación norte ya que en principio no están permitidas por la normativa.

Should each housing unit have its own entrance from the street, or can more units share an entrance and parking garage?

Dwellings do not need to have their own entrance from the street. In fact, in the block typology, which is usual in social housing, this is not possible; the dwellings units share a common entrance as well as the access to private parking areas.

No es necesario que las viviendas tengan su propia entrada desde la calle. De hecho, en la tipología de bloque, que es la utilizada habitualmente en la vivienda social, esto no es posible, y las unidades comparten entrada común, así como acceso a las zonas de aparcamiento privado.

By saying 100 housing units, do you mean 100 separate single houses, or can we combine more housing units in one building? Is it allowed to plan collective housing buildings with several apartments, or only single-family houses?

In a competition such as EUROPAN, the interest of the public administrations is on the ideas offered by the competitors; therefore, we do not want to give a preconceived idea about the typologies that should be proposed. 

In any case, it should not be forgotten that we are dealing with social housing, with public money. That means that architectural solutions must take full advantage of public resources. Therefore, building typologies must adapt to efficient solutions, optimize spaces, ensure sustainable future maintenance and seek a certain social cohesion among users. Therefore, it is necessary to say that, indeed, block typologies are better adapted to these criteria and so they are the usual typology for social housing. But it is not the only possible typology and it can be combined with others.

En un concurso de este tipo, el interés de las administraciones promotoras es que los concursantes aporten ideas; por lo tanto, no se quiere dar una idea preconcebida de las tipologías que se deben proponer.

En cualquier caso, no se debe perder de vista que se está promoviendo vivienda social con dinero público, por lo que las soluciones arquitectónicas deben de aprovechar correctamente los recursos públicos. Por tanto, las tipologías constructivas deben de adaptarse a soluciones eficientes, que optimicen los espacios, que garanticen un mantenimiento futuro sostenible y que procuren una cierta cohesión social entre los usuarios.

Una vez aclarado esto, es necesario decir que, efectivamente, las tipologías de bloque se adaptan mejor a estos criterios y son las que se emplean habitualmente en la vivienda social, lo que no quiere decir que sea la única tipología posible, ni que no pueda combinarse con otras.

What do you mean by general systems and local systems? Can you explain in more detail?

General systems are understood as land for public facilities that serve more than one area or sector. It includes free spaces, collective facilities, as well as infrastructures and communication networks, whose functionality and service encompass more than a single area of planning. To give an example, in the case of free spaces the "general system of free spaces" includes green areas and urban parks of domain and public use that serve the entire municipality and serve for outdoor leisure, recreation and expansion.

In addition to the general systems, there are local systems. They are all the public facilities "whose function can be circumscribed to the predominant use and service of the residents in a specific area or sector". Therefore, in the study site there will be a local system of free spaces, a local road system and a local system of other public facilities more appropriate to future residents of the area. As an example, the "local system of free spaces and green areas" refers to these green areas at neighborhood scale, parks, gardens, as well as pedestrian spaces and plazas

The same criterion applies to the equipment or the road, according to its scale and its radius of action. Therefore, if they provide service to the entire municipality, they will have the rank of a general system. In short, the distinction between the general system and the local system is only functional, due to its capacity to provide service and radius of action (size or level of the population served)

Se entiende por sistemas generales aquellos suelos dotacionales públicos que dan servicio a más de un área o sector. Engloba los espacios libres, los equipamientos colectivos, así como las infraestructuras y redes de comunicación, cuya funcionalidad y servicio abarcan más de un ámbito de planeamiento. Por poner un ejemplo, en el caso de los espacios libres el “sistema general de espacios libres” comprende las zonas verdes y parques urbanos de dominio y uso público que dan servicio a todo el municipio y que sirven para el ocio, recreo y expansión al aire libre.

Además de los sistemas generales existen los sistemas locales que son todos los elementos dotacionales “cuya función se puede circunscribir al uso y servicio predominante de los residentes en un área o sector concreto”. Por tanto, en el ámbito de estudio existirá un sistema local de espacios libres, un sistema local viario y un sistema local de otras dotaciones públicas más propio de los futuros residentes del ámbito. Como ejemplo, el “sistema local de espacios libres y zonas verdes” se refiere a esas zonas verdes más de escala de barrio, parques, jardines, así como los espacios peatonales y las plazas. 

Lo mismo ocurriría para los equipamientos o el viario, en función de su escala y de su radio de acción. Por tanto, si dan servicio a todo el municipio tendrán rango de sistema general. En definitiva, la distinción entre sistema general y sistema local es meramente funcional, por su capacidad dotacional de servicio y radio de acción (tamaño o nivel de la población servida).

What is the approximate expected area for public roads?

There is no specific area planned for roads. It will come as a result of the proposed layout. In any case, the road system must have room for a minimum of 70 public spaces and enough space for bike lanes. 

No se ha estimado una superficie concreta destinada a viario. Será la que derive de la propia ordenación propuesta. En todo caso, debe recordarse que en el sistema viario hay que dar cabida a un mínimo de 70 plazas de aparcamiento público, siendo deseable además destinar espacios suficientes de bici-carril.


Should each housing unit have an ajdacent private parking space (a private garage for 1 family car), or is it allowed to plan for a shared underground garage (for more cars)?

The program establishes one parking space per dwelling, without specifying the way in which it should be available. In case of opting for block typology, the usual approach is a common garage, but this does not mean that it is the only possible option.  In any case, again, we want to underlie that we are dealing with social housing, with public money, so architectural solutions should optimize the consumption of land and, in the case of garages, facilitate economic maintenance and a safe use.

La condición del programa es que se proporcione 1 plaza de aparcamiento por cada vivienda, sin especificar el modo en que se debe disponer. En caso de optar por tipología de bloque, el planteamiento habitual es de garaje comunitario, pero esto no quiere decir que sea la única opción posible. En cualquier caso, de nuevo es necesario recordar que se trata de una promoción de vivienda social con dinero público, por lo que las soluciones arquitectónicas deben optimizar el consumo de suelo y, en el caso de los garajes, facilitar un mantenimiento económico y un uso seguro.


Should total buildable are of 11.400 m2 also include extra spaces for productive uses within each housing unit?

Indeed, the initial approach is that productive spaces are closely linked to the use of housing, considered a part of it, so that the total buildable area provided cannot be exceeded. In any case, as it was pointed out in the video presentation, the productive aspect within residential use is not yet regulated by the legislation, so the evaluation of the proposals will not be restrictive at all. On the contrary, what is expected from the competitors is their contribution with ideas that allow to advance in this concept and that, perhaps, could be incorporated in a future regulation of the design rules for the social housing.

Efectivamente, el planteamiento inicial es que los espacios productivos estén ligados íntimamente al uso de la vivienda, considerándose parte de ella, por lo que no se puede exceder la superficie edificable total proporcionada. De todas maneras, como se ha expuesto en la presentación en vídeo, el aspecto productivo dentro del uso residencial no está regulado por la normativa, por lo que la valoración de las propuestas no va a ser en absoluto restrictiva. Muy al contrario, lo que se pretende de los concursantes es que aporten ideas que permitan avanzar en este concepto y que quizás podrían incorporarse en una futura regulación de la normativa de diseño de la vivienda protegida.

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