Multi-family dwellings


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Reform of a dwelling on calle Gran de Gracia of Barcelona

Pere Buil y Toni Riba (Vora Arquitectura) arquitectos

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This rehabilitation of a dwelling situated in the district of Gracia, in the heart of Barcelona, to a large extent constitutes an exercise in recovering an original architecture that was blurred as a consequence of an accumulation of successive layers and transformations.

Over time any building becomes an architecture of superposition of layers. In a dwelling, this accumulation becomes extreme and the uses end up by defining walls and spaces that transform the original architecture. This is how the project’s authors tell of their first sensations and reflections when setting out on their first steps: “The apartment was, when we entered it, a suite of spaces where different superposed times could be seen. A variety of uses that had accumulated elements and layers on its walls over the years and had ultimately shaped a strange and blurred environment. Despite the confusion one could see the power of its original defining characteristics: a structure of linked-up spaces separated by a powerful succession of load bearing walls, the floor covered in hydraulic mosaic to distinguish a hierarchy of uses and a rhythm of ceilings shaped by ceramic vaults and timber beams”.

It seems to us that a reform should make the most of what it finds. As occurs with the city, which is a conglomerate of different historical times that mutually contaminate each other, which interweave in a complex and ambiguous whole that excites us.

In this case, although the pre-existence did not have any exceptional heritage or historical value, it was considered to be perfectly usable and attractive, leading the authors to a strategy of recycling and transformation with diffuse limits in which they proceeded to introduce new concentrated and differentiated functional elements.

This strategy of “use and transformation” is based on the following actions:
-Elimination of existing accessory elements on walls an ceilings to reach the essential elements that define the space
-A strategic, not “hygienic” cleaning of the walls, retaining the outlines, marks, layers of paint, etc
-Consolidation (structural reinforcement, stapling of cracks) and “critical” replacement
-Reading the original layout on the floor of the small rooms
-Evening out the colours and optimising the natural light

The additions essentially consist of a series of freestanding closed modules (boxes) containing services and storage, finishing them with a white veil that unifies the colours with the container space.

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Situación: Barcelona. Arquitectos proyecto: Pere Buil y Toni Riba (vora arquitectura). Arquitecto obra: Toni Riba, vora arquitectura. Colaboradores: Arnau Boronat, Ana Silva y Carolina Silva Constructor: Fórneas Guida. Fotografía: Adrià Goula
Pere Buil
Toni Riba
Vora Arquitectura
Adrià Goula