Under the Castle of Santa Catalina, in the neighbourhood of San Juan – one of the poorer parts of Jaén’s old quarter – Brijuni Arquitectos has designed and built a block of 12 dwellings with façades full of colour. The building rises up above a shared community space with a nice attractive pool that is ideal for putting up with the summer heat and that provides the neighbours with an extremely valuable space.
Following a meticulous study to ensure that all of the dwellings would have a view of this central space and would not be considered interior spaces, 12 homes were built, with between one and four bedrooms, that make up a perfectly scaled ensemble, agreeably compact and that give a feeling of community to the residents.
The pool takes centre stage in this space, and has added a new use and given a new image to the housing stock in one of Jaén’s most forgotten areas, all of which has renewed the impoverished neighbourhood. Divided into two basins – a large one for swimming and a smaller one for kids – the pool also has a rest area. Nine of the 12 homes can be accessed from this rich interior space. The doors of the homes blend into the coloured backdrop formed by the façade’s panels. Of the same size as the window shutters, the building’s protective features provide the dwellings with shade.
Although the colour is confined to the interior façades, on the street side a huge section of metal tubes coated in white lacquer stands out that shows, in attractive lettering, that behind them is found number 41 of the street.
Over five years ago, the architects also worked on a nearby house to convert it into two dwellings based on a typical Andalusian house, whose ground floor is shut off from the outdoors and opens into an interior courtyard that is the only source of natural light on this floor. Making the home the heart of these two projects has conferred a special richness on them.
© Photos: Jesús Granada