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Recovery of an historic department

Recovery of an historic department

Barcelona, Spain | View Map
Project Year
Private Houses
Nuria Vila

Recovery of an historic department at the heart of Barcelona

Alessia Scardamaglia as Interior Architects

The project involves the complete renovation of an early twentieth century department, located at the avenue Gran Via de les Corts Catalanes, in the heart of Barcelona's Eixample, which responds to the typological characteristics of the modernist period – “noucentista” (which use to be elongated departments, very compartmentalized, with two fronts, one facing the street and the other at the inner courtyard of the square block, vertical structure of load-bearing walls and ceramic slabs vaults. The department was found without any substantial change, preserving the original flooring, carpentry and coffered ceilings, but everything in an advanced state of degradation due to the passage of time.

The project aims to preserve and enhance all existing elements, recovering the modernist original features and readapting service spaces to give them functionality, maintaining a balance of colors and materials that transform it in a warm and harmonious integration.

The main focus is the central corridor, that connects the private area with the public one, located each in an opposite area of the department. The structure of the original hall is maintained, while the adjacent dependencies are converted into a maple wooden box containing the WCs of the home, forming a compact squared volume, which breaks with the sensation of that space every time you get inside it. The light shades of maple wood are combined with the warm tones of the floor, giving itself limelight (picture _27H8153e).

The sleeping area is strongly marked by the recovery of all the original elements of the floor, coffered ceilings with plaster moldings, original doors, windows and pavement. This supposed a very interesting challenge, because preserving these elements drove to reframe the facilities to suit them. Therefore, in the rooms it has been decided to use ventilation systems instead of air conditioning, giving also an environmental importance to the project.

The pavement is another great protagonist of the house. It is an original mosaic terracotta floor (which is another typical modernist-noucentista element), made with 10x10 cm. pieces, with patterns and colors that are different in every one of the rooms, just like carpets, giving continuity between all the patterns and harmonically mixing with the modern features.

In the public area, made up with the living room, dining room, kitchen and gallery area - study, was wanted to expose the constructive elements of the building, such as wrought ceramic vaults with metal beams and brick walls, highlighted elements with indirect lighting, obtaining lights and shades that accentuate the materials. Unlike the sleeping area, it has strongly marked the intentionality of industrial design, “noucentista” inspiration, putting the air conditioning with nozzles and choosing few decorative elements that exalt the materials in its original state.

Definitely, it has been accomplished to give new life to a historic department, which with the pass of time it had been forgotten, being able to preserve its architectonical essence with the comfort of a modern XXI house.

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