Project by Mas-aqui architecture & interior design, based in Barcelona
Project for the total renovation of a two-story semi-basement house in a 1924 building located near Park Güell, in Barcelona.
The house is located in a sloping terrain with west orientation and views of the Tibidabo Mountain. The original construction was in very poor condition. The rooms were completely lacking in light and ventilation, and communication between the different floors of the building was complicated. The lower basement had been practically abandoned for years, and access was only possible via an outside staircase.
This poor starting point required a comprehensive intervention. At the same time, it posed an exciting challenge: to transform the difficulties into the opportunity to achieve a unique home with a marked personality.
The first decision consisted of redefining the uses of each space and articulating the different levels of the construction. It was then necessary to choose the materials (handcrafted and in natural shades), which were best suited to favoring the connection of the spaces and which were distributed over five floors with two free exits to the outside, connected to each other.
From the bottom to the top, the lower basement was converted into a bright suite with an exit to a courtyard. In order to integrate this floor in the whole of the house and to offer it an access from the inside it was necessary to excavate 1.2 meters of land, necessary to build a staircase.
This intervention completely determined the character of the house and became a central element. The excavation created a double height space, surrounded by exposed concrete retaining walls. To reinforce the structure, a wooden forging was introduced that works as a translucent filter between spaces, bathing them in warmth and at the same time creating a slatted sculpture with great visual strength. On the one hand, the horizontal wooden slats that mark the transition between floors; on the other, the vertical slats used for the studio table and for the construction of a bench.
This wooden structure, which gently wraps up like a «Yurikago» cradle, crowns the space destined for the dining room, a large space that articulates the access to the kitchen, the lavatory and the storeroom, presided over by a concrete fireplace lacquered in the oven, which in turn serves as a step to access the living area. On the upper floor different uses were won with the creation of a studio, lavatory, and shower and, as a central element, a bedroom with dressing rooms that connect with the living area. In the living room, the wardrobes of the upper room are extended in the form of a desk library.
Just below the aforementioned dressing room, a «Tokonoma» is created: a small space raised above a «Washitsu» (Japanese style room), whose objects contained in it are essential elements in traditional Japanese decoration. Beyond the different levels and uses, all the spaces in the house dialogue very fluently, and establish a relationship of continuity thanks to the reddish-brown flooring of the hydraulic ceramics.
The need to gain natural light in the interiors was resolved with the creation of new openings, in that of the entrance. With these, the effect of a light well was created and cross ventilation of the house was also guaranteed.
In order to improve energy efficiency, it was decided to apply aerothermal solutions, which allow energy to be captured from the environment to supply radiant heating, as well as hot water and frankincense to ensure proper functioning in all spaces and levels.
City Barcelona / Floor area 101.05 m² / Usage Residencia / Year 2020
Architects: Mas-aqui - Masaaki Higashi & Esther Mir
Photography: Jose Hevia