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Ohla hotel

Luis Alonso y Sergi Balaguer, arquitectos

Description Technical file

The transformation of a confrontation between facades of different styles and eras, in a brilliant dialogue between architecture and plastic arts, constitutes the principal sign of identity of this new hotel situated in the old district of Barcelona.
The construction of the Heribert Salas house on Barcelona’s Via Laietana in the year 1926 could never be considered as a finished project, given that the meeting point between what was then viewed as a modern building and the urban fabric of the Ciutat Vella district left wounds that have taken more than 80 years to heal. Meanwhile, this strategic corner has had multiple uses. A department store that in the end gave its name to the building (the first major national store, Casa Vilardell), the police station… and, finally, a hotel.
The hotel use and its functional and parking needs made it unfeasible to fit it into the existing building, which thus had to be demolished though maintaining its façade. Thus, thanks to a load bearing structure that left the façade suspended in the air for a year, it was possible to give the complex 3 underground floors: one intended for convention rooms and hotel services, one for parking and a third one for water tanks.
The building itself is articulated around a main staircase that conserves its original outline. It accommodates a restaurant and a bar on the ground floor, the reception and a restaurant on the mezzanine floor as well as a total of 72 rooms in the rest of the building. The almost circular shape of the floor plan makes all the rooms different, not only in their floor plan but also in the way they reveal the views that go from the Palau de la Música to the port at the end of Via Laietana.
But perhaps one of the most interesting aspects of the project is the dialogue established between the two facades: the neo-classical one of Via Laietana with the new build, simple and dark, on the back face giving on to calle Comtal. In this regard, and in a quest for an opportunity to create a point of reference in the city by uniting art and architecture in a discourse that would go beyond that of a simple hotel and continuing with the argument between the pre-existence and the contemporary build, the authors decided to contact Frederic Amat and invite him to undertake an intervention that would give the complex the plastic force that would take it beyond architecture. In this regard, the “wall of eyes” acts as an exercise in acupuncture that escapes its initial scope and unites both facades, giving the whole a monumental and contemporary expressive force that links it to the traditional references to the city, both as a resource and in the material aspect.

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Localización: Barcelona. Autores: Alonso, Balaguer i Arquitectes Associats. Director de Proyecto: Daniel Isern. Promotor: Cent Claus, S.L. Constructor: Lluis Pares, S.L. Aparejadores: Tecnics G3, S.L. (Manoli Vila, Javier Chávez, Victor Forteza). Ingeniería estructures: NOLAC. Ingeniería instalaciones: PGI. Actuación escultórica en fachada: Frederic Amat. Fotógrafo: Josep Mª Molinos.
Luis Alonso
Esplugues de Llobregat, Barcelona
Sergi Balaguer
Esplugues de Llobregat, Barcelona
Josep María Molinos