EMBT designs a respectful renovation of eight historic homes

The building acts as an urban mirror in which the passing time is reflected

by Malcolm Clark
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Architecture office EMBT | Enric Miralles - Benedetta Tagliabue has recently completed a low cost renovation of 8 Flats in a building of the Gothic Quarter of Barcelona. The building, subject to numerous interventions in various historical periods from the Renaissance to the early twentieth century, is surrounded by a great deal of historical evidence inherited from the reconstructions occurring following the bombing and fires suffered by the city.

The intervention focused on the research and discovery of the original elements. Gothic arches, fragments of frescoes on the walls, ceramic tiled floors, wooden beams, mortar ceramic and lime mortar vaults, construction materials and elements representing typical Catalan architecture brought to light in order to preserve the identity of the building.

The residential units have been restored respecting the history of the place and, at the same time, the spatial redistribution was designed in order to meet the needs of new ways of living, by adopting new technologies. The interior spaces are larger and illuminated to give a new sense of living comfort. The overlap of historical elements and new polycarbonate partitions, give rise to lively and dynamic spaces that reflect different eras while connecting past and present. The building acts as an urban mirror in which the passing of time is reflected.

The co-used terrace, with views of the historic centre of Barcelona, gives a sense of freedom in a compact urban core, allowing the interaction between neighbours.

The main purpose of the housing renovation process was to look for the historical traces of the building, using creative resources at the lowest cost, through a work of 'cleaning', approach and discovery.

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    8 Flats low cost renovation 204

    8 Flats low cost renovation

    Barcelona / Spain / 2013