Housing and Living Spaces
The experience of being locked down has been traumatic and should not be repeated. In terms of housing and living spaces, open spaces such as balconies or terraces, have been very much valued or missed. We have discovered that in many cases the living conditions in our housing are poor, not providing the necessary direct sunlight, natural light and ventilation, or the access to open areas from the interior rooms.
Traditionally many house owners would enclose balconies with aluminum frames and windows, in order to make the living spaces bigger. Both a mistake by the local planners for allowing it, and by the owners for removing the possibility of having any contact with the outside. In addition, this has resulted in unattractive facades of many buildings in our cities.
Terraces and balconies enrich interior rooms, providing an extension to them, an exterior-interior dialogue, ventilation and natural light.
Time for Review
It’s now probably the time to review our habitability regulations, in order to include the necessary open spaces as part of our housing, which could be private, part public or public.
Meanwhile owners who have taken on refurbishing their houses in the last few months, have recognized the necessity of having a free open extension of their living spaces.
Here is a modest example of how to provide better living qualities.
The starting point is a regular longitudinal flat, with small balconies to the front and the rear. The rear balcony is south-east facing and has sun exposure during most of the day.
The internal refurbishment of the flat included the enlargement of the balcony, reducing the depth of the two rear bedrooms. The result is a terrace, where a table can be fixed as well as a small summer kitchen.
The flat has gained a new space, where the family can spend most of the daytime throughout the year, due to the orientation in our latitude.
Javier Leonardo Rímolo
Rimolo & Gross