top of page

Y-HAB: COLLECTIVE HOUSING FOR DIGITAL NATIVES - B.Arch final thesis (Author: Macella Spinelli / Advisor: Ana Rolim)

THESIS AWARDED BY ARCHDAILY - Best Graduation Thesis in Portuguese Speaking Countries 

YHAB is a prototypical housing structure for the generation of digital natives, formed by individuals born between 1980-1995. As shown in experiments with laser-cut modules done in the pre-design phase, their preferred spatial configuration tends to be flexible and stimulating towards socializing.


Understanding the target audience was the starting point for the project, supported by data about the population of the city of Recife, NE Brazil, which in its great majority is composed by the generation of digital natives. We argue that there is a need to think about the housing problem from the understanding of inefficiencies in traditional spaces and advances in technology that digital natives constantly deal with. Understanding the new demands and ways of reacting to the world was essential to approach this generation.


In this context, architects have a great responsibility to comprehend and incorporate the new and constantly changing activities that such users demand. Thus, it is important to acknowledge the evolution of technology in newer generations and its power to modify reality, both in living environments and in the human being, affecting the settings of living. These settings must meet this decoding of the user experience, the interactions they establish and how they make use of the space, aiming at the development of various activities liable to constant mutations.


This overall profile is simulated in a historic downtown neighborhood of the city of Recife, an area that for the past 20 years has been increasingly considered a digital hub, attracting thousands of digital natives to work in the many start-ups and tech-companies located there. Underutilized and empty lots were surveyed and typical conditions were identified. The spatial prototype was implemented in the most recurrent type of lot, a mid-block, very long and narrow plot. Departing from an open ground floor plan that connects both sides of the block, the program includes various types of housing units and shared spaces of different kinds, oriented both towards working and leisure.

At the end of each year Archdaily makes a call for final B.Arch graduation thesis from Portuguese-speaking countries, aiming to select the most interesting projects according to the criteria of graphic presentation and thought-provoking and timely themes. This project was one of the awarded proposals, chosen among 333 submissions from Brazil and Portugal. 

More information is available on the Archdaily web page.

Street view

Simulation of prototypical Y-HAB units inserted in Bairro do Recife, a neighborhood with several technological hubs where digital natives work.

Perspective section thru the building

Ground floor access

Ground floor plan

One of the access areas to housing units

4th floor plan with communal spaces

Common spaces on 5th floor

Co-working area

Experiments of possible residential unit layouts made with actual Y generation users during pre-design phase

1st floor plan with single and duplex residential units, and shared spaces

2nd floor plan with residential units

Interior perspective section highlighting residential units

A moveable pop-up store shared by dwellers to showcase artifacts and services they would provide.

bottom of page