This Double-Height Apartment in Barcelona Features Historic Details and a Floating Staircase

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By Michele Koh Morollo / Published by Dwell
Two formerly separate levels are linked and combined into a double-height volume in this 1,464-square-foot apartment in Barcelona, Spain.

Spanish architecture firm RÄS Studio connected two independent units—a commercial space on the ground floor and a residential apartment on the first floor—within a building in the historic neighborhood of Vila de Gràcia in Barcelona, turning the combined spaces into a stunning apartment called La Diana.

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The architects drilled through the slab of concrete that separates the two floors, creating an opening that was large enough to construct a free-floating metal stairway on one side of the wall. 

On the ground floor, a seven-foot-high metal platform serves as an intermediate landing that gives the ground floor a more human scale. 

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This platform also separates the living and kitchen areas that are located on the lower level. 

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To give the home more privacy, a semi-shaded patio was created to serve as a spatial filter between the interiors and the street outside. 

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On the upper level, the bedrooms are arranged around the void of the double-height space. 

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A neat, streamlined look is achieved in the bedrooms with partitions and walls that are complete with storage. 

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Glass panels above the bedroom doors allow sunlight to enter through the exterior windows, permeating and naturally brightening the rooms. 

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To retain and emphasize the traditional architecture of the building, the architects used natural terra-cotta for the floors, and stripped the paint from the walls to expose the beautiful textures and imperfections of the original brickwork. 

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On the upper level, exposed concrete on the top of the perimeter walls divide them into two different colored sections. This increases the sense of intimacy and adds to the project’s human scale.  

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