This three-storey terraced house with a trafficable roof is located on a pedestrian street in the district of Gràcia. Our client, looking for a building that could become the family home for several generations, needed four double bedrooms and two separate common areas for the family, as well as a light and airy basement in which to do everything from exercise to music rehearsals. One of the bedrooms had to have a small kitchen and living room, as it was envisioned initially for sporadic use as a guest apartment and later as a place where their eldest son could live.
The building they chose proved a veritable challenge. The entire ground floor was occupied by a vehicle repair shop, while the two upper storeys were dwellings that could only be accessed through the workshop. In its original layout, the building presented large spaces with virtually no direct light, a situation which laid the groundwork for our intervention: to reconfigure the floors and maximise the amount of incoming light. The idea was to turn what was strictly a multi-family building into a single-family home, generating spaces with more natural light and a garden area at the back of the property. To do so, we decided to free up most of the block’s inner courtyard, occupied by the repair shop, for use as a garden area with a small swimming pool in the back, to bring air into the house. The floors attached to the street-side façade were in good condition, so we decided to leave them. The structures on the rear façade, on the other hand, were partially demolished, and only the openings could be preserved.
After analysing the elements from the original composition that we could maintain, we approached the project from a cross-sectional perspective. On the street side, we kept the three original levels, while, on the side facing the courtyard, we split the ground floor in two. This division provided space for a large common area, with living rooms, dining room, full kitchen and barbecue area, on both levels opening out onto the courtyard. In keeping with this criteria, we maintained the existing façades and worked with floors at different levels inside the house. These new levels respect the original rear façade, forming a gallery-like interstitial space that serves as a transition between the home’s interior and the exterior garden. This dual space acts as both a covered porch for meals in the summer and a well-lit dining area in the winter. We strengthened this connection with the outside by widening the openings in the façade, improving conditions in one of the two living rooms and the main bedroom. By offsetting the floors, we created a double-height ceiling in the entrance; in this case, a transitional space that separates what is public, the pedestrian street, from what is private, the home. With a translucent pavement and skylight in the back, we ensured good lighting in the diaphanous basement.
As for project materials, we decided to continue with the dual approach of preserving the existing materials and ensuring minimalism with the addition of any new elements. Therefore, with the main façade, we maintained the walls’ original brickwork and the ribbed floor slabs from the sections we were able to salvage and restored the wood trim. With the rear façade, on the other hand, we used steel trim and new concrete formwork floors with textured wood panels. Inside the home, wood was used to create a contrast, with vertical latticework as a visual filter, and as the material for the bespoke furnishings.
By creating a single-family home with matching interrelated spaces, we were able to base our approach on the offsetting of the sectional view. This gave rise to visually rich linkage areas between the levels and enabled us to demarcate uses with hardly any interior partitions. The result, coupled with the rational layout based on the client’s proposals, is a home equipped to cope with the different scenarios family life may present.