Catalan painter Arranz-Bravo's new studio in Vallvidrera

Garcés De Seta Bonet Arquitectes creates a creative and lonely 'refuge'

by Malcolm Clark
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The work on the studio of Spanish painter Arranz-Bravo has recently been completed by Garcés De Seta Bonet Arquitectes. The new building is dedicated to a single activity: creative and solitary, in the artist's words. This need has prompted designers “to solve the volume in a compact manner, with a uniform external appearance - insulating layers and clear stuccowork in expressive continuity between walls and roof - to establish family relationships, without disturbing the natural surroundings.”

The interior is a fluid and multiple concrete cavity, as a direct consequence of the monolithic structural concept of the building and of the research for severe and naked spaces at the service of the artistic work that takes place there.

In the gently sloping lot, nestled among the trees on the north side of the Tibidabo and attached to the house where the painter lives, the small building houses a 12 m x 13.5 m artist's studio in the biggest and empty room and on the lower level a sculpture studio with its own warehouse, resulting from the meeting of the prismatic volume with the ground.

The artist's studio, being an area without direct view to the outside, mainly receives light from the roof, through a large skylight located at the meeting point of the four inclined planes, which define the space in an irregular manner starting from the horizontal line of the crowning of the 5 metres high perimeter wall.

A staircase, positioned along a side wall to not break the spatial unity, leads to the 3.5 metres high lower level. The rear space, in the vicinity of the retaining wall, is dedicated to the artworks warehouse, while the front area, the sculpture workshop, opens with a large horizontal 'crack' onto the terrace to allow the artist to work outdoors and enjoy views of the compact green that characterizes the site.