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Rear Window living: density + small homes = crossed glances

Charged with designing an apartment complex to house 111 low-income families in small spaces, architects Eva Prats and Ricardo Flores decided to blur the line between public and private space to gain square footage.

Prats and Flores used Italian Renaissance palaces for inspiration (even traveling to Florence to take exact measurements of the facades of the Pitti and Strozzi palaces) and created a piazza as the main focus of the complex.

The residents of Edificio 111 live in apartments of a very un-palatial size- as small as 55 square meters (590 square feet)-, but what they give up in personal space they gain in community.

“Your house is not only your house but also the vestibule, the piazza, the benches, the trees, the fountain, etcetera until you go to the street,” explains Prats. “This is also yours in a way because you meet with other neighbors or the kids are playing there.”

To reinforce the feeling of community, the architects placed all the private rooms (bedrooms and bathrooms) away from the courtyard leaving the more public rooms (living rooms and dining roms) to face the piazza.

In this video, Prats takes us on a tour of an exhibit looking at the merging of public and private space in Edificio 111. It’s called Miradas Cruzadas (Crossed Glances), but he told me that they had considered using a Rear Window reference in the title.

[Photo credits: Duccia Malagamba (exterior); Adria Goula (interiors)]