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.

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