Flexible Housing – Society Contest

Submission: August 02, 2016
Registration: August 02, 2016
Language: English 
Location: Concept Design
Prizes: 1st Prize: 3000€, 2nd Prize: 1000€, 3rd Prize: 500€
Type: Open

What does living mean? “Living means leaving marks” said Walter Benjamin. Living establishes links between past, present and future. Therefore, living stops being an individual action to establish a temporary community, that is, with an awareness of the impact of our past and present actions in the future.

This awareness is caused by the relation between living and memory. The memory is linked to experience with the construction spaces associated with lifestyles.

But how it is possible to live in a society where changes occur in a fast and simultaneous way. These changes produce new family structures whose temporariness can change several times throughout the life cycle of a person. Therefore, currently there is no single housing prototype associated with a homogeneous sample of similar individuals who live in the same family structures.

The house must respond to the lifestyles of completely heterogeneous human beings with diverse behaviour patterns, values, consumer demands and lifetimes, in some cases antagonistic, which join or diversify leading to new types of people.

This acceleration causes changes in the spatial and temporal aspects. Time loses its relation with the past and with their cultural heritage to become in something instantaneous. It becomes a discontinuous time full of controlled episodes. A search is performed for unlimited time that loses all connections with the experience. The connotations of near and far are transformed, from a physical perception conceived as a space control. Which is close is the space where we feel comfortable.

The house becomes a digital support, a node on a network that interacts socially with others, allowing the performance of a new domestic system. How can you recover that relation with the experience space, with enough time that allows us to enjoy our daily actions?

Nowadays, the private and the public don ́t find difference in a “ hybrid living “ which assumes the common character of the house while making public “home” places.

Living, as “staying in one place for a long time”, shortens its duration in housing, to extend it to other areas of permanence, other areas of habitability. Life runs fluidly, spilling from one place to another and the traditional home becomes in a crossing space. The inhabitant, which assumes a cyclical nomadism, identifes those places where their personal belongings are as his home.

In a society where the time turns into productive space, the house can be established as a space for immunity, a space of conscience and individual-collective learning that let us build a new social imaginary that links our experience to the ordinary.

The house becomes a space with multiple scales from the micro (experience, customs, body moves, objects relation …) to the macro (a space used for connecting any corner of the planet). How can they incorporate these dimensions into the current house?

Habitability is a device within a heterogeneous group that comprises speeches, architectural facilities, regulations, laws, administrative measures, scientific statements, philosophical and philanthropic moral propositions.

What is the role of housing in this device?

Progressiveness is an intrinsic term related to living. Families evolve and this is why evolution, adaptation and flexibility are an undeniable process in daily life.

The inhabitant always tend to personalize their environment and often change their lifestyle over time, leading to new changes in habitat. This means to generate expandable, customizable, changeable, adaptable, able to adapt to the body times spaces.

The house must deal with different situations:

– The future user is unknown, therefore his needs cannot be guessed.

– The user is known, but his future needs are not projected.

– The transformations produced by users generate negative interference in the house.

How can we project it taking into account these aspects?

Housing should turn into an adaptable space to the inhabitant and not the opposite. Therefore, the housing must be thought from two dimensions:

Qualitative dimension:

The initial housing will be a complete habitable package that can progress incorporating inputs and finishes that do not compromise the stability of the buildings.

Quantitative dimension:

The housing allows a back development to  the construction of housing incorporating new spaces and new surfaces.

Housing was not conceived thinking about changes in family structures, but currently we can see the great deversity: people who live alone, couples without children, couples with one child, group of people who share an apartment, families who take care for an elderly person and so on. How can housing bring in all these changes? What kind of housing do you propose?

Josep Quetglas says: “the home of our time does not exist yet. There is a house that is not ours, the house from other time that is not ours, and it does exist our home, from us, inhabitants, who we have no time. Who is out of time does not live, or live a fictional life.” So what is the home of our time?

How can you set up and develop it? Perhaps we should return to the initial question.

What does living mean?



The competition aims to promote imagination and development of proposals without limitations. Therefore, a plot is not established as a space for the development of competition. The location of the plot will be chosen by the participant according to their interests. It may be a space in a natural environment; within a plot in a city with nearby buildings etc. The development of the house is key for this competition.


Housing should be able to adapt to different family structures:

– 1 person: The first one is composed by a single-person household, it may be formed by people who choose to live alone, a divorced person or a widow/er.

– 2 people: The second one is composed by a single-parent family or couples without children, siblings, partners.

– 3 people: The third one is composed by couples who have only one child or a number of young people who live together.

– 4 people: Family with two children or a family with one child and an elderly person.

– 5 or more people: Larger families or 5 people sharing a house.



The development of an adaptable and flexible home to different social structures that can be placed in his home. This can be caused by family changes or the arrival of new people.


The grouping of the different homes will be considered.


Rethinking rooms as inhabitant ́s complex spaces.


The housemust cover the needs of habitability: kitchen, bathroom, living rooms and so forth, etc.


The area of the house will be 100 m², but it will be appreciated when resolved in a smaller area. Consequently, it will be taken into account the amount of space dedicated to each inhabitant according to the family structure.

The main thing is the architectural quality of the proposal and its flexibility according to the changing situation of family structures described above.

A project that meets all situations in one can be proposed, or otherwise different housing types, one for each case, but with a global and/or common denominator. Therefore, a typology of the dwelling is not required. The housing may be formally developed as the contestant deems appropriate, being able to develop a house in a single floor, double height, fragmented, with stacks, etc.

Go to the competition’s website