Antipodas 16_Tapa web














«Sustainable Habitat»- passive and low energy architecture for social housing.

International workshop at Tokyo University of Science, Sakaushi Lab.

TUS Prof. Taku Sakaushi.



  1. m.Appropriate place to live an organism, plant or animal species or community conditions.
  2. m.Particularly suited to the tastes and needs of someone environment.
  3. m.Urb. Built space in which man lives.

Royal Spanish Academy Dictionary


The wording, Passive Low Energy Architecture, indicates both the paramount importance of the design of the building itself, rather than any active servicing systems it may also require, as well as environmental interactions in its climatic context. What remains implicit is firstly that such an approach leads to little energy use with minimum carbon emissions, and secondly that it promotes occupiers’ wellbeing in a holistic sense. This is not a new concept but solutions have incrementally changed and refined over four decades even though hybrid ‘passive-active’ designs were already in the frame at that time in the hope of addressing key shortcomings in each approach. Over the last few years many modern buildings have been shown to perform less well than traditional construction types in, for instance in hot weather or in high winds, driving concerns over trends in overheating and construction failures experienced in many modern buildings. This then is the context for this workshop, which it is hoped will raise questions of where next in the search for more resilient design, yield fresh experiences and provide a platform for deliberations on these important evolving issues, Ideas and design solutions.



We propose a workshop for develop new proposal on popular housing and the need to generate or adapt to social, environmental and technological environment. The development of a housing which can be carried out using transformations, space and technology in a dynamic relationship between the different ways of living, physical spaces over time and efficient use of energy.


The housing and environmental problems is a historical debt in the Reconquista River Basin. A comprehensive intervention of the basin is long a specific need. An intervention that includes not only the technical aspects, but includes other variables that were always underestimated. 25% of the population of the party is located in informal settlements in low or flood-prone areas. In addition, these settlements were moving over land reclaimed from the river, either by filling illegal waste dump solid waste, demolition, rough or mud. To this problem is compounded by the fact of poor service provision of potable water network and sewage and the problem of contamination of aquifers by heavy metals and sewage percolation of water from contaminated courses and cesspools. As suggested by the Provincial Law Fair Access to Habitat: «… the promotion of the right to housing and decent and sustainable habitat defines the general policy guidelines of habitat and housing and regulates actions to resolve gradually the urban housing deficit, giving priority to families with critical poverty and special needs. »


Energy efficiency

Sustainable development which meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations. It involves economic, social and environmental aspects. The purpose of efficiency, is to use the least possible energy resources, to achieve the desired comfort level. This choice makes sense both economically and environmentally. By using less fuel to do the same activities mitigate emissions of greenhouse gases (GHGs), we preserve our resources and decreased energy costs of users. In addition, by using less energy for attaining the same services, we managed to lower-income people have access to these services, expanding access to these benefits in energy. In this project is to analyze the energy savings that can be achieved through improvements in construction processes, focusing on those aspects that have a lower cost and can provide the best chance of being transferred to new construction. Extensive international experience indicates that it is possible to reduce energy consumption at very low levels, improving the thermal insulation of exterior walls and ceilings (surround) and with a well oriented design bioclimatically that allows greater use of solar radiation. the potential of more efficient systems will be discussed in some key services such as heating, cooling, water heating, lighting, etc.

ANTIPODAS 15 generated a space of interdisciplinary reflection about housing and the need to generate or adapt to social, environmental and technological environment. This first workshop laid the foundations and the opportunity to meet some experiences and views that allow us to glimpse the development of a housing which can be validated new projective hypothesis and the development of new logical construction that allow to achieve change of use, space and technology in a dynamic relationship between the different ways of living and physicists over time spaces.

ANTIPODAS 16 workshop is presented as initial hypothesis:

  1. An open structure with a simple, economic and efficient envelope to define a surface and a maximum volume with spatial qualities adapted to the dynamics of the different ways of living of different social environments and different regions bioclimatic building system. An open system to be completed in time incorporating new materials and components developed and manufactured by different management models or other industries. An envelope layer, which guarantees the standard of comfort, from the use of bioclimatic factors, passive design strategies for managing their variables.
  2. One or more device-s-s architectural / technological-s able to solve the infrastructure, basic services and comfort of living.

These two dimensions are complementary, meaning that this device-os-s part of the design of the system or statement will be consolidated as an independent piece in the case of recognizing pre-existing conditions habitat.


Contemporary Living

Housing density increases in these settlements when there is no more land available. At this time all the constructive logic aims to generate very simple structures composed of bases, columns and reinforced concrete beams and slabs made with pre-molded beams, ceramic bricks and armed subfloors.

The closings are still materializing in ceramic hollow bricks left in view on its outer face. It is difficult to speak or recognize typologies in these informal settlements. Usually it is one, two or a number of environments that are transformed into stages where all family activities develop. Eat, sleep, room, etc, all this simultaneous tasks at the same place. As these structures grow in height was added metal ladders not only resolve the vertical communication but also materialized in many cases, the semi covered expansions of these units. It is common that these metal structures serve as «support» to electrical installations and rainwater, true urban setting full of facilities.

The equipment also accompanies this logic. Its main source of income is the collection of old furniture, damaged, that are transported to these units and randomly arranged. None of these facilities has been designed for the simultaneous tasks that develop in these spaces, so usually become obsolete and become architectural barriers to make flexible and rational use of available space.

Statistically this relieved that live in Argentina more than seventeen different family types and the «traditional nuclear family» consisting of a couple and two children only constitute less representative percentage.

One reason for repeatedly using the word «home» in preference to «housing» is the identification that this term has with its occupants. People, people, who inhabit the buildings remain the forgotten in residential architecture. A house is a house more people who inhabit and the objects it holds.

Our houses, the first space of socialization, they have to be able to accommodate the various ways of living that have early twenty-first century and witness the evolution of the relationship between families and their spaces.

The solution to meet the necessary diversity of housing types is to develop flexible mechanisms. However, the first rule of flexibility is the existence of spaces with minimal hierarchy, spaces similar sizes so that each group can appropriate them in a unique way.

Another mechanism of de-nesting spaces is to make visible housework, allowing shared use of spaces for domestic and everyday work.

Another aspect necessary to project flexibility mechanism lies in the ability to have the equipment and furniture in more than one way within the same space, for it is necessary to understand these spaces and design thinking in cubic meters and not in only two dimensions.

This flexibility has a different meaning. Not so much that each of the above parts can accommodate several simultaneous activities, but rather, it is the whole, have several chained pieces (though small) which allows a more versatile use of the house.

This new look at the design of space transcends the traditional concept of the program, avoiding labeling the various locations that characterized classical and modern housing, replacing specially designed scenarios and designed to accommodate several functions simultaneously. As a result of these mechanisms some of these spaces continue solving domestic housing activities (sleeping, studying, cooking, eating, etc.) and others become vacant to accommodate new or potential uses (workspace, group activities, neighborhood meetings, dictated courses, etc.), which originally were never intended to develop in the houses.

In the case of collective housing this condition of flexible space, without a predetermined function, beyond the scope of each house and becomes more important as it becomes an area where they can converge character group activities. Note that this new space can articulate the various units that make up the set or can be a space serving as regenerating the urban fabric element establishing new spatial relationships on the fronts, funds or with neighboring projects.


Roberto Busnelli, architect.