Ground floor with patio
This time we find an old plaster molding shop in the heart of Gracia neighbourhood, in Barcelona. Located on the ground floor of a building of the early twentieth century, it was a place without light due to its small patio and few openings in the facades. It has been abandoned for decades; it had neither a bathroom nor a kitchen; the interior consisted of only two rooms.
However, the heights of the ceilings and wooden beams, a very common characteristic of the buildings of the time, together with a space in the back of the building, favoured the realization of a unique project.
The main objective was clear; allow the entrance of light in all the new rooms of the house. The Functional Program required three rooms including two bathrooms and a living room where the kitchen was an important part of it.
In order to achieve this, we need two key actions, expanding the patio by knocking down adjacent buildings located on the upper floor and joining the back space with the local by making the patio become the main concept of the project, through which the rooms were articulated.
The local had two entrances, one at the street level and another through the community lobby. To obtain privacy, it was decided to keep the door located in the lobby as the only main access. In the original opening at the street level, a composition was designed with wood and iron as a fence of a large window, therefore the entrance of natural light into the living room was allowed. Being a pedestrian street, the feeling of preserving privacy was increased by creating a natural visual barrier with shrubs (species Ficus Benjamina).
Inspired by tubular radiators, the element that delineated the lobby and the living room was designed along with a retro-lit metal shelf.
The level of the pavement was reduced to gain an attic making this the third room - study of the Functional Program. The attic was made with a metal structure of only 6 cm and a solid wood floor. In order to be considered a private room, it was delimited with transparent glass walls and bi fold curtains.
The access to the attic it is made by a folded iron staircase that crosses an original wooden balcony. We wanted to keep it in the project to gain lighting, since opening this original wooden balcony was impossible. The railing was conceived to work structurally being part of one of the supports of the stairs becoming one of the main design elements of the project.
The kitchen contains an important central island with a bar that integrates the dining table made with the same material. The cooking area is integrated in the double height of the attic. The composition of this area was designed in such a way that it could be repeated on the upper floor, creating iron bars that marked the modulation integrating the refrigerator doors and the access to the night area. It was decided to choose the oak plated for both doors and the kitchen furniture.
A large window formed by two iron doors together with the attic help creating an atmosphere of loft inspiration. This window gives direct access to the patio, in which we wanted, once again, to introduce a natural element, which would provide the feeling of living outside the city. Thus, the house opens its views to this central tree (Populus species). In addition, an IPE floor was placed on the pavement.
The communication between day and night areas were thought to be done through the patio by building a glass corridor allowing to have vision from both sides of it.
In order not to lose the continuity of the pavement between “the outside and the inside” the same platform of external IPE was placed only in the area of the hall.
It was sought to have access to the patio from the master bedroom having a great perspective of the tree, obtained with an opening of iron carpentries.
The project counted on the contribution of custom designed furniture such as the headboards, the carpet made with herringbone wooden floor in the master bedroom, the bathroom furniture and the shelves of the hall among other details.
Work was performed simultaneously on the upper floor, which, among other interventions, allowed creating a skylight to lighten up the two rooms. The master bedroom bathroom is the one receiving natural light, allowing the light to pass through a fixed glass located on the upper part of the partition wall. As a peculiarity, in the bathroom, the shower wall was left showing the existing natural brick and exposed copper installations, designing the faucets.
As a common denominator in the whole flat, the original walls of the building have been recovered and the new materials used are the traditional ones of the construction period. The hydraulic tiles have been placed in bathrooms. Terracotta tiles have been used for the construction of the partition wall that separates the bathroom from the kitchen, leaving this view from both sides. Iron is the main material for exterior carpentries, structural reinforcements, the attic and the staircase. The herringbone wooden floor provides warmth to the living room separating the concrete pavement from the rest of the house by a horizontal joint.
The common rooms show their heterogeneity with their exposed stonewalls. The wooden beams have been stripped and glazed porcelain electrical fixtures have been sought.