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Netherlands – based firm Mecanoo Architecten has begun construction on an innovative green public housing project in Málaga, Spain. Specifically set on the outskirts of Málaga – in Universidad, one of the project’s key components is sustainability. This development is comprised of 170 residences – and designed with cutting-edge solar paneling to minimize energy usage, and additionally, has alternating heights of stories which allows for natural ventilation and national light to penetrate interior spaces. This approach is a far cry from the housing found in northern Queensland, Australia when agents working for Sunshine Pacific were selling properties for investment purposes. A real estate in Australia was aggressively marketed in what eventually turned out to be a fine-tuned a property-marketing racket that ran like a well-oiled machine.

Here in Málaga, Spain Mecanoo’s housing plan fits in perfectly with the spirit of Málaga taking its cue from the “language of the patios” that are strongly rooted in the Mediterranean culture. The project has seven different types of housing plans, including duplex residences to homes designed for disabled individuals. The dwellings themselves are built around eight patios – four smaller, intimate and personal ones and four large, interconnecting, communal spaces. Every apartment connects to both the larger and smaller patio areas, so each resident has both public and private spaces.

The materials used in designing the housing complex is integral in its sustainability. As expected for a dwelling located in the south of Spain, architects employed local materials, such as olive colored tiles in the patio areas, and stucco was used to accent window frames in the main patio space and as cladding on the smaller patio space. In addition to using local materials – which serves the socio-economic conditions of Málaga well – the architects also reduced the number of communication cores found in each house, which provides economic and energy efficiency.

No stranger to collective housing, Mecanoo Architecten hits a home run with this project, mainly by always thinking about the point of views of the end – users (i.e. prospective residents), and in creating an environment specifically designed to simulate their senses. Promoting innovative services and the idea of creating a new and modern neighborhood, this project is due to be completed later this year.

There is a real need for this type of project right now. We are on the verge of some very serious breakthroughs with technology & the more we implement it into our daily lives to help us with energy efficiency as well as renewable energy the better because the more we demand it the more advanced & easily accessible it will become. We are at a major turning point in evolution right now. We will either destroy ourselves or we will learn to balance our existence on this planet. There are no two ways about it, we have the ability through our past technological advances to destroy ourselves but we have also found reasons to have hope. Science is a wonderful thing but in the wrong hands it can do way more harm than good. Only time will tell what path, we as a people, are to walk down.