In Barcelona the courtyards and lightwells – extrusions from the built mass of the city – are called patios. The Patio House is a proposal for a new way to live in Barcelona – it turns the typical urban condition of the perimeter block inside out, making the void into a valued, rather than detrimental attribute of the urban fabric.
David Lynch’s cult classic ERASERHEAD served as the conceptual basis for the aprtment layout. The protagonist’s bleak existance in a home where the only window faces a brick wall is understood to contribute to his obsessive desire for creating fantasy private worlds (physically constructed from soil and plants, and populated by earthworms, or imagined – as the stage behind the space heater). The patio is taken as means to provoke spatial organization, as it is an urban element that typically groups private and service functions (it provides lavatory and kitchen ventialtion, as well as space to hang out one’s clothes to dry). The concept of ‘living in the patio’ evolved from the study of Walden 7 which was conceived of as a ‘city within a city’ and treated the patio as a volumetric architectural element. Taking cues from Walden 7 for the overall aggregation system, Patio Housing seeks to arrange units connected by interior streets, around patios of various scales : the city, the block, and the house.
This is achieved though a fractal field distribution of the voids, units, and circulation, which is superimposed on the site, and adjusted to account for edge conditions (streets and passage). This process and the plan of the project are share in the genealogy of mat buildings.