Midori Arquitectura has recently completed a stunning renovation of an apartment located in the historic Sants district of Barcelona. The century-old residential building was in dire need of attention, with outdated installations, structural issues, and a poorly designed layout. The apartment suffered from a long corridor that led to a space without purpose, two interior rooms lacking natural light and ventilation, and a room that could only be accessed through another room.
However, with their expertise and vision, Midori Arquitectura has successfully transformed this neglected space into a true gem. Their proposal not only aims to address these issues but also seeks to highlight the unique features of the house, adding value and charm to the overall design. The result is a beautifully revamped apartment that seamlessly flows from one space to another, creating a harmonious and functional living environment.
There are two primary factors that influenced the design of the intervention. Firstly, the elongated shape of the property posed a challenge in utilizing the central area effectively, especially since there were no interior courtyards available. Secondly, the positioning of the community sewage downspouts made it impractical to place the kitchen or hygienic chamber far away from them.
Considering these factors, a decision was made to place the bedrooms on the side facing the street, while the living room was positioned on the interior facade of the block. This allowed for the gallery space to be freed up by connecting the kitchen to the living room. The bathroom remained in its original position, but with a slightly larger surface area. This arrangement created a cluster of wet rooms next to the party wall, leaving the remaining space available for the other rooms.
The new arrangement is a result of various factors and the structural work done in the house. The demolitions uncovered well-preserved wooden beams and ceramic vaults, which will be left exposed and highlighted. However, due to the age of the building and the removal of interior partition walls (which are not load-bearing but help control floor deformation), a new mullion beam is installed from one facade to the other, spanning the length of the house.
This mullion beam plays a crucial role in determining the new layout of the house. To support the mullion beam, two transverse beams are placed at the same locations as the interior partitions. These supports are positioned approximately 60 cm below the mullion beam and are connected to it using small steel profiles acting as pillars. This arrangement creates a space above the partitions, allowing natural light from both facades to illuminate the center of the house and providing a clear view of the original ceramic vault floor from one end to the other.
To ensure the stability of the mullion beam against fire, it is protected by covering it with a plasterboard box that extends down to the level of the supporting beams. This gives the impression of a large structural element resting on two supports. This element serves as a guiding element throughout the entire intervention, running along the entire length of the space and accompanying the sequence of rooms, creating a continuous flow from one facade to the other.
The lower side of this longitudinal axis is coated with a waterproof DM finish, utilizing the color green as the main theme of the area. Along this axis, the electrical installations are installed and distributed throughout the house, while the lighting fixtures of each room are strategically placed to keep the ceiling free from any wiring or elements that may obstruct the view of the original ceiling.
In order to preserve and enhance the original elements of the house, a portion of the hydraulic mosaic in some rooms was restored. This discovery was made when the porcelain tile flooring was removed, revealing the beautiful mosaic underneath. Due to the floor’s significant deformation, a compression plate was created to prevent any future structural issues. As a result, not all of the hydraulic mosaic could be salvaged, but the pieces in better condition were reused in one room.
These pieces are positioned in the center of the floor, resembling a carpet, and define this area as a versatile space that can serve as a dining room, study, or guest room. The space also benefits from the natural light that filters through the interior windows on the support beams. To further enhance the versatility of this area, a movable enclosure is installed to provide privacy when needed. This intervention respects the existing elements of the house, preserving those that deserve recognition while improving aspects that no longer meet the current functional requirements.