Arch Support

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December 29, 2011
Originally published in Inspired Renovation
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  • 
  When architect Benedetta Tagliabue and her husband, the late architect Enric Miralles, began knocking down walls inside what was to become their home they discovered an original arch suspected to be a remnant of the city’s Roman past.

    When architect Benedetta Tagliabue and her husband, the late architect Enric Miralles, began knocking down walls inside what was to become their home they discovered an original arch suspected to be a remnant of the city’s Roman past.

  • 
  Once through the street-level entrance, the property's modern garage door comes into view. Stairs lead up to the kitchen.

    Once through the street-level entrance, the property's modern garage door comes into view. Stairs lead up to the kitchen.

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  Immediately halting the crew, Tagliabue and Miralles decided instead to celebrate the juxtaposition by leaving it all in situ. The painting at right was also found inside the meandering structure, which had been unoccupied for decades.

    Immediately halting the crew, Tagliabue and Miralles decided instead to celebrate the juxtaposition by leaving it all in situ. The painting at right was also found inside the meandering structure, which had been unoccupied for decades.

  • 
  Freestanding shelving by Miralles holds yet more tomes from the family’s prodigious collection. Irregularly placed tilework on the floor follows the trajectory of the sun’s rays as it travels across the room.

    Freestanding shelving by Miralles holds yet more tomes from the family’s prodigious collection. Irregularly placed tilework on the floor follows the trajectory of the sun’s rays as it travels across the room.

  • 
  The glowing anemone-like lamp is from Vinçon in Barcelona.

    The glowing anemone-like lamp is from Vinçon in Barcelona.

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  Paths of Andalusian tile and intervening plaster walls help to delineate space in the expansive apartment, which is centered around an internal entry courtyard. The armchair, designed by Peter and Alison Smithson, is covered in a Josef Frank textile from Just Scandinavian. The white piece just behind it is a repurposed Austrian stove that’s now used as a storage device.

    Paths of Andalusian tile and intervening plaster walls help to delineate space in the expansive apartment, which is centered around an internal entry courtyard. The armchair, designed by Peter and Alison Smithson, is covered in a Josef Frank textile from Just Scandinavian. The white piece just behind it is a repurposed Austrian stove that’s now used as a storage device.

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  In one area of the apartment, Tagliabue’s son, Domenec, plays drums in front of a sliding wood panel of the architects’ design.

    In one area of the apartment, Tagliabue’s son, Domenec, plays drums in front of a sliding wood panel of the architects’ design.

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  Resting atop an oak table by Miralles, amidst a collection of tchotchkes, is the “B” trophy awarded to the pair for their work on the Santa Caterina Market rehabilitation project. A Louis Poulsen lamp hangs just above.

    Resting atop an oak table by Miralles, amidst a collection of tchotchkes, is the “B” trophy awarded to the pair for their work on the Santa Caterina Market rehabilitation project. A Louis Poulsen lamp hangs just above.

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  In her library, Tagliabue works at a table designed by Miralles.

    In her library, Tagliabue works at a table designed by Miralles.

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  In the dining room, which opens to the backyard terrace, original tilework on the floors and walls complement decidedly modern counterparts—an original 1938 Butterfly chair by Antonio Bonet, Juan Kurchan, and Jorge Ferrari Hardoy, and a 1983 TMC floor lamp by Spanish designer Miguel Milá.

    In the dining room, which opens to the backyard terrace, original tilework on the floors and walls complement decidedly modern counterparts—an original 1938 Butterfly chair by Antonio Bonet, Juan Kurchan, and Jorge Ferrari Hardoy, and a 1983 TMC floor lamp by Spanish designer Miguel Milá.

  • 
  One of the most significant architectural developments within Tagliabue’s property is the pool house, which features a shallow lap pool and a wood-burning fireplace.

    One of the most significant architectural developments within Tagliabue’s property is the pool house, which features a shallow lap pool and a wood-burning fireplace.

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  At one end of the space, which is topped by a barrel ceiling, a hammock offers a tantalizingly cozy place to nap.

    At one end of the space, which is topped by a barrel ceiling, a hammock offers a tantalizingly cozy place to nap.

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  French doors line one wall that extends from the library to the first-floor sitting room and office.

    French doors line one wall that extends from the library to the first-floor sitting room and office.

  • 
  More custom bookshelves in an upstairs sitting room, cleverly inserted into the villa's extant niches.

    More custom bookshelves in an upstairs sitting room, cleverly inserted into the villa's extant niches.

  • 
  Tagliabue made sense of the soaring volume in the library by installing double-height custom bookcases that can be accessed via a catwalk.

    Tagliabue made sense of the soaring volume in the library by installing double-height custom bookcases that can be accessed via a catwalk.

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  A detail of a wall illustrates Benedetta's eye for pattern and texture.

    A detail of a wall illustrates Benedetta's eye for pattern and texture.

  • 
  Strong lines on the floor and the walls reinforce the notion of old and new.

    Strong lines on the floor and the walls reinforce the notion of old and new.

  • 
  Benedetta's son's bedroom, which is on the second floor of the villa. The bed is her own design.

    Benedetta's son's bedroom, which is on the second floor of the villa. The bed is her own design.

  • 
  Tagliabue and her husband, enthusiastic book lovers, collected thousands of volumes for their library.

    Tagliabue and her husband, enthusiastic book lovers, collected thousands of volumes for their library.

  • 
  Benedetta poses with her pet bird, who keeps watch on the entrance courtyard below from his perch in the library.

    Benedetta poses with her pet bird, who keeps watch on the entrance courtyard below from his perch in the library.

  • 
  Sliding panels of Tagliabue's design delineate space in the first-floor sitting room, which opens to an office.

    Sliding panels of Tagliabue's design delineate space in the first-floor sitting room, which opens to an office.

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