San Junipero Residence for the third age

About This Project

San Junipero

San Junipero is a project inspired in the namesake episode of Black Mirror, the TV show. In that episode, two old women lived the virtual world of San Junipero as a chance of recovering their youth and joy for life when the real world had left them apart because of their age.


This project consisted on developing a third age residence in Alcalá de Henares, near the chapel destined to Casa Alcaletta. For this building, the main goal was to design a place where inhabitants could find a pleasant environment where to live their age as a pleasant joyful stage. Maybe their bodies were not pretty as society would like, but they were neither broken. The pleassure of water, wind, smell, pressure… were still affecting them.


The residence is organized around two elements: the central patio, and an unique slope all around the building, so stairs are not neccesary (although they were set, according to rules).


The patio is the place for meeting. Two trees, Cercis Siliquastrum (The Tree of Love) are there, creating a colourful atmosphere all apartments can see. A little roman spa is also added, in order to relieve age pain in a pleasant and socially fun way.


It was also important to connect the streets in both sides of the given plot, that is why a narrow path crosses the site, separated from the common areas and patio by a crystal wall. It was intended to let urban activity and circulation get close to the residents, but not in a way privacy could seem compromised.


In another field, renaturalization of the city was a point to add. The green roof, walkable, and the crystal roof protecting the patio, allow birds to nest and rest, and even enter inside the patio and building through little holes in the tholobate. Cercis Siliquastrum seeds are hard for birds to eat, but the ritual of picking them, cracking the shell, and feeding the birds in the roof was considered a social event which could take place as a differential value for this community.


When it comes to rooms, it was important that all of them were widely open to the central patio. A big crystal wall was set, and the handwash placed in a way that it was the first thing inhabitants face in the morning.


By last, a little laboratory for researching intern students was demanded, and it is integrated in the building so they do not remain apart from residents.


All these strategies strike in breaking the sad images of third age persons sat in silence watching TV in a residence, waiting for the end to come. San Junipero substitute that Thanatos pulsion with an Eros stage, this meaning love for life and positivism.