El Ponce


Architecture, Daylighting & Lighting Design: Juan José Acosta


SOURCE Award 2016: Award of Recognition for Outstanding Energy Performance



El Ponce is a permanent residence for LGBT youth.  These youngsters, mostly homeless, come from situations that leave them lacking an appropriate home structure that fosters personal self-acceptance and full personal development.  Consequently, El Ponce steps in to create a home structure where the guests work in family-like situations: dividing chores, enjoying communal interaction, and having direct access to personal seclusion spaces when necessary.

The site is located at the top of El Vigía, a hill that overlooks the city of Ponce, in southern Puerto Rico.  The transformation of El Ponce’s existing abandoned structure from a modernist hotel into a contemporary residence required a holistic approach that flipped its conceptions of spatial comprehension: spaces that were hidden in the hotel had to come to full light in the residence to support family-style living. 

The project's main area is the first floor of the building, where a large common space and a series of more intimate rooms are the main enclaves.  Next to those spaces is the open kitchen, where residents can prepare their meals in kitchen stations organized in an open plan under a vaulted ceiling structure.

The rooms feature a wooden exterior skin that allows the individual to control cross-ventilation, daylight penetration, and privacy by employing operable windows with deep horizontal members.