A Hip Live/Work Space Occupies an Old Theater in Barcelona

By Kate Reggev / Published by Dwell

Cadaval & Solà-Morales converts a 19th-century theater into a lofty live/work space with an industrial edge.

Located in Barcelona’s formerly industrial Poblenou neighborhood, El Teatro (in English, The Theater) began its life as a 19th-century brick theater. That building was then converted into a barn, then later into a toilet paper factory, and, most recently, into a thoughtful, light-filled residence by the Barcelona– and Mexico City–based architecture firm of Cadaval & Sola-Morales.

Originally built as a small theater, El Teatro was repurposed as a barn, and later a toilet paper factory, before being converted into a home by Cadaval & Sola-Morales.

Sandra Pereznieto

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The original building provided a rich assortment of materials and details to work with—in particular the exterior walls, the gable roof, the ceiling trusses, and the loft-like quality of the central space.

The front door doubles as a garage door for the vintage car, which parks in the front entry at night.

Sandra Pereznieto

The building, originally rectangular in plan, is entered through a large central doorway; this leads into a short corridor that opens out into the open-plan living, dining, and cooking area. The high ceilings here expose the historic wood trusses, and a portion of the roof is raised higher to create a small clerestory for more daylight.

The bedrooms occupy the rear of the building, where it grows taller to once accommodate the theater’s rigging system.

Sandra Pereznieto

A back corner has been removed to create a rear outdoor space that is enclosed on two sides with original brick walls and new glass and metal mullions on the other sides. This provides for ample daylight to come into the space, as well as a private garden and small pool for the owners.

The L-shaped central space has high ceilings and holds the dining room, living room, kitchen, and work area.

Sandra Pereznieto

The large, open space of the communal rooms in the center of the home is divided into zones because of its L-shaped plan. Bold, geometric furniture helps define each of the functional zones throughout the roughly 3,500-square-foot home; for example, a large glass table and shelving system take up an office space abutting the outdoor patio. 

The original wood doors from the front facade were relocated to the interior, where they function as sliding doors.

Sandra Pereznieto

An outdoor patio was created simply by removing a portion of the roof of the building. It acts more as an extension of the interior than as a back or side yard.

Sandra Pereznieto

The exterior space consists largely of hardscape—a deck with cloth hammocks—and a small pool, but greenery softens the edges and provides a leafy contrast to the red brick and reflective glass.

The ghost of the removed roof remains visible at the building's rear patio, where the brick remains exposed below the bedrooms above.

Sandra Pereznieto

Hammocks stretch across the side patio.

Sandra Pereznieto

Shop the Look

Stephen Kenn Inheritance Two Seat Sofa - Military Canvas

Los Angeles based designer Stephen Kenn has long been inspired by clean and simple design aesthetics and the stories inherent in vintage military fabrics. In 2011 he combined those two loves by creating The Inheritance Collection. The collection was the result of an exploration of how furniture is constructed, and then a desire to distill the process down to the barest bones. Likening the process of furniture construction to the way the human body is constructed, the frame, belts, and cushions became the bones, muscles, and skin of each piece. Canvas cushion covers, cotton webbing and leather belts interwoven atop a metal frame. Made in Los Angeles, the collection is inspired by the characteristic principles of Soviet Modernism and bold interpretations of Brutalist Architecture through the simplification of form, receptive angular geometries and functional design. Photo courtesy of Horne


Crate & Barrel Entu Side Table

A clever squared "S" of solid teak shapes a design open to possibilities. Straight up, it's a modern side table with three landings for display and storage. On its side, it's a magazine rack integrated with a tabletop. Each table is designed using only plantation-grown solid teak certified sustainable by the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC), a nonprofit organization that encourages responsible management of the world's forests. Exposed box joints at the corners add strength and visual detail. Each side table is unique and may exhibit naturally occurring graining, knots, splitting and mineral deposits that add character to each piece. For a bold, contemporary look pair up as bunching tables. The Entu Side Table is a Crate and Barrel exclusive. FSC-certified Solid Teak Water-based finish


HAY Kaleido Tray

Designed by Clara von Zweigbergk for Danish design studio Hay, the Kaleido trays were created with play in mind. The modular and stackable trays are designed to coordinate with other sizes in order to create distinctive shapes and patterns. The varied sizes and colors—made of powder-coated steel—can be combined to create a bold display on a dresser or tabletop, and can be used to compartmentalize and store knickknacks, jewelry, keys, and even mail. When not used for storage or display, they present a colorful and striking visual element on their own. The interchangeability of the trays means that they can be restructured quickly and can be stacked when not in use.

The front of the building houses separate workspaces accessed from just inside the front door. The offices have a lofted mezzanine above, taking advantage of the tall ceiling height.

Sandra Pereznieto

Modern steel structural elements contrast with the existing wood roof beams and trusses and brick columns and walls.

Sandra Pereznieto

The bedrooms at the rear of the building, located in the former fly loft, are accessed off of an existing masonry staircase. The floors are covered in new cement tiles.

Sandra Pereznieto

The bedrooms receive light from windows that have been punched out of the masonry and overlook the outdoor patio below.

Sandra Pereznieto

Plans of El Teatro show its rectangular plan, with offices for non-residents at the front and at the mezzanine levels. The rest of the building is used as a residence, with communal spaces at the ground floor and bedrooms at the back in the upper levels of the fly loft, where the theatrical rigging was kept.

Courtesy of Cadaval & Sola-Morales

Related Reading: 20 Spectacular Warehouse-to-Home Conversions 

Project Credits:
Architects: Cadaval & Solà-Morales / @cadavalsolamorales

Structural Engineering: Carmela Torró Micó

Photography: Sandra Pereznieto

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