Family houses

Barcelona. Spain.

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Tibbaut Duplex. Refurbishment of a dwelling in the Raval district.


Description Technical file

The stark nature of this proposal for the refurbishment of a dwelling in Barcelona’s Raval district runs parallel to an objective of interior spatial complexity and a marked intention to integrate spaces and itineraries.

The project began with two separate and overlapping dwellings on the ground and first floor of an old and humble block of flats between party walls in the heart of Barcelona’s Raval district. Both dwellings were in a state of abandonment. The client’s request was to centre the primary living spaces on the upper floor, and expand them on the ground floor with other more undefined spaces that could be used as a lounge, study or work area.

The proposal is clear: insert two squares with 2-metre sides into the middle of the space at a 45º angle with regard to the primary axis, with overlapping vertices but without touching the original walls, and extruded elements crossing both floors. A simple, forceful gesture in which two ideal shapes, two perfect extruded squares, impose themselves on the existing unevenness and organise all of the floor spaces without any need for additional measures or elements. One of the squares contains the staircase connecting the two floors, and the other contains the upper bedroom as well as the bathrooms and utility room on the lower floor. The fact that the squares are rotated enables the specialisation of the surrounding spaces without any need for additional doors or walls, with the new volumes defining the different spaces as they move closer and farther from the perimeter walls.

The forceful nature of the proposal runs parallel to an objective of interior spatial complexity and a marked intention to not make the spaces and itineraries obvious. Thus the staircase is enclosed within one of the volumes, and its spiral shape aims to disorientate and conceal in order to surprise at the landings. In the same spirit, there are multiple axes of symmetry that double the itineraries and increase the spatial experience.

The approach to colours and materials highlights the two extruded volumes, which are painted in bright gold mixed with gold powder and a varnished finish, surrounded by white cladding that line and cover the existing perimeters. The interior of the staircase, carved out of one of the volumes, is a dark black space that contrasts with the exterior white, as is the bedroom in the other volume which is covered with OSB wood slabs painted and varnished in black. The material and colour scheme always adheres to the character of the element where it is applied, be it existing or new, inside or outside the squares.

Since the beginning, since the reconsideration of the foundations, the structural intervention required high precision in the placement of the central squares as well as in the precise cutting of the wooden beams in order to open up the gaps and double heights. The cut beams rest either on the new steel porticos or the lower flange of the new beams, always with the goal of enabling a clean extrusion of the squares.

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Localización Location: Barcelona. Spain. Autor Author: raul sanchez architects | Raúl Sánchez, arquitecto. Colaboradores arquitectura Collaborating architecture: Pau Just, Víctor Lorente. Estructuras Structures: Francisco Moyano. Ingeniería Enginnering: Marés ingenieros. Cliente Client: Diana Tibbaut. Constructora General Contractor: Quality Homes Factory S.L.U. Superficie construida Built area: 110m². Redacción proyecto Project Draft: 2016. Fecha inicio y finalización de la obra Start and completion date of the works: Enero-Agosto 2017. Fotografía Photography: José Hevia.
raul sanchez architects

Raúl Sánchez

José Hevia