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Published: Wednesday, August 16, 2006

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Social Housing Block

Successfully employing the humble modular unit, Ofis Architects create highly flexible and economic design solutions in their proposal for low-cost housing along the Izola Bay.

By: Ofis arhitekti

Architecture-Page | Social Housing Block by Ofis Architects
The modular design of the housing block

Project Details

  • Project Name: Social Housing Block
  • Client: Slovenian housing fund
  • Location: Izola, Slovenia
  • Project Type: Residential
  • Principal Designer/s: Rok Oman, Spela Videcnik
  • Design Team: Martina Lipicer, Nejc Batistic, Neza Oman, Florian Frey, Marisa Baptista
  • Contractor: Makro 5
  • Date of commencement of project: 2003
  • Date of completion of project: 2006
  • Site Area: 4.000 m2
  • Built-up Area: 2,294 m2

Architecture-Page | Social Housing Block by Ofis Architects
Exterior view of one of the two blocks

The Building

The project is a competition - winning entry to design two housing blocks for the Slovenia Housing Fund- a government-run program providing low-cost apartments for young families. The proposal won largely for its excellent ratio between gross vs. saleable surface area as well as for its flexibility in design.

Architecture-Page | Social Housing Block by Ofis Architects
Exterior view of the building

Each building provides for thirty apartments of different sizes and structures, varying from studio flats to 3-bedroom units. The apartments are small, with minimum-sized rooms according to Slovenian standards. There are no structural elements inside the apartments which can hence be flexibly reorganized.

Architecture-Page | Social Housing Block by Ofis Architects
The interesting composition of elements and colour in the facade

The blocks are set out on a hill with a view of Izola Bay on one side and of the surrounding hills on the other. Since the blocks are subject to a Mediterranean climate, outdoor space and shade are critical features of design.

Architecture-Page | Social Housing Block by Ofis Architects
Slight variations within the modular framework coupled with a diverse color palette prevents the design from getting monotonous.

The design allows for a veranda for each apartment, thus providing an outdoor space that is intimate, shaded and naturally ventilated. A textile shade creates privacy within the balcony and apartment whilst, owing to its semi-transparency, allowing the residents to enjoy views of the bay.

Architecture-Page | Social Housing Block by Ofis Architects
View of the balconies with perforated side panels and textile shades.

Perforated side-panels allow summer breeze to ventilate the space. The strong colours create different atmospheres within the apartments. Boxes at the side of each balcony provide room for air-conditioning units. Perspective and visual lines are accentuated and utilized, connecting the interiors with their surround, thus making the small rooms seem more spacious.


  • Text: Courtesy, the architect
  • Photographs by Tomaz Gregoric courtesy of Ofis Architects
  • Compiled and edited by Manish Mehta

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