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
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.
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.
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.