Habitem el Sant Pau

Pioneer proposal for a residential building on top of the Sant Pau Gym

  • Social movement

  • The community of Sant Pau, by Alex Jimenez

  • Proposal for Sant Pau housing

  • Common spaces

  • Viewing the proposal

Show 1 video and 9 Photos

Can cities grow, without the need for empty lots? What strategies can make them more dense, complex and mixed? #HabitemElSantPau is a pilot project for the creation of 47 public-community housing units above the Gimnàs Sant Pau, in the Raval district of Barcelona. This community project, which starts from the neighborhood, has a triple objective: the purchase of the gym by the City Council, the continuity of the Sant Pau Gym and the construction of houses, taking advantage of the air space available above the property, in a collaboration of the administration, neighbors, users and entities.

Pioneer project

The proposal is a pioneer at several levels: design (participatory), promotion (public-community) and management (City Council, cooperative and local social entities). It represents a hybrid of the social housing model, and in terms of a construction model, partially developed through masovería (work in exchange for housing). The cooperative members collaborate in their construction and maintenance. It is one of the projects framed in ATRI, architectural and urban strategy co-developed by Straddle3 & others.

The Sant Pau Gym was born 78 years ago and it has become a meeting point of the Raval, Sant Antoni and Poble Sec neighborhoods, and a vital social project in the city. It is a facility that is characterized by «its solidarity and neighborhood activity, resulting in a project that promotes community engagement and structures the territory».


Before the end of the lease in 2020 and the threats of demolition of the building, the #HabitemElSantPau project is born. It proposes a question for the multi-referendum in the key of city planning for the summer of 2018, with a double objective: on the one hand , to promote a pilot project of public and inclusive housing of 47 homes on top of the Sant Pau Gymnasium, and on the other hand, to guarantee the continuity of the community's solidarity and community action.


In the development of the proposal, a multidisciplinary team of more than 50 people participated, counting on the engagement of more than 30 entities and 20,900 signatures to support the inclusion of the project in a multi-referendum (on different local issues) promoted by the City Council.


The initiative promotes a system of housing in a cooperative regime, (that forms a community and part of the financial muscle) and a third of the homes are destined to groups, excluded or at risk of exclusion.


The proposal is a hybrid between social housing and a construction model partially developed through masovería, since a part of cooperative members would replace the initial financial contribution by construction and maintenance, thus allowing the incorporation of varied social profiles in the cooperative.


The management system is inspired on the Community Land Trust model, based on a tripartite system: the City Council, the Housing Cooperative and a representation of entities rooted in the territory with a social function.

June 2018
Straddle3, Àlex Giménez and Eulia.eu (ATRI)
All the Sant Pau team, especially Ernest, Lara, Jordi, Ferran, but also Tonet, Sara & David and all the people who have supported the initiative
Technical Commission of Gimnàs Sant Pau SCCL
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