Apartment renovation in Ciutat Vella, Barcelona A number of factors where key when designing the reuse of a XIX century flat within Ciutat Vella in Barcelona. The flat had not been touched in 130 years and it was full of valuable historical features but also the treasured memories of its inhabitants. Having a client that understood the need for a respectful solution was key to ensure the project didn’t end up being a planning exercise that followed the strict building regulations, but a flexible and adaptable design solution with a rich history exposed.
The project undertook a complete reuse from its structure and services to its spatial distribution and envelop. The designers took a contemporary approach without forgetting the flat’s history to ensure the design solution was respectful and ethically mindful to the historical traces and details encountered. Working on a typical Barcelona’s XIX century flat where the spaces are clustered around the typical interior light well, we brought a versatile and light quality to the apartment to ensure its use was contemporary and functional.
The final design solution lets the flat show its history. The design reveals the traces of the past, taking benefit of what we found on the way: elements that we could see at first sight like hydraulic tiled floors, tall and elegant doors or delicate mouldings but also nice hidden surprises like the painted typical Catalan vaulted ceiling. The historical essence of the flat is maintained while becoming a contemporary, light and functional space to the user. A creative reuse solution that uses a collage technique, where the ‘cut’ and ‘paste’ creates a new dialog between the old and the new, working on the idea of ‘architecture km0’ where the exiting features and materials are reused from the site itself. All the new details of the flat are crafted to ensure the new and the old co-exist in a contemporary framework without forgetting the history of the place. The collage takes a central stage in the project when is used to show the beauty of the past through a contemporary architectural technique.