A Salvaged Apartment on Mallorca Leaves its Roots Exposed

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By Jenny Xie
As if undertaking an archaeological dig, architect Carles Oliver peels back layers of his home over the course of three years.

Cities that are inundated by tourists, such as Palma de Mallorca, Spain, can suffer severe housing shortages that call for the reappropriation of unused space. Architect Carles Oliver undertook just this task, rehabbing an old, empty building with a budget of just over $21,000. Through an urban sharecropping contract, the work on the home was done in exchange for three years of rent.

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The majority of the budget went towards improving energy efficiency, such as installing roof insulation and a biomass stove. The rest was spent on removing layers of architecture to reveal the original construction; for example, the architect discovered that a pre-existing porch had once supported a new roof in the 19th century. "To open a door is not the same [as building] a door," explains Oliver about his method of opening spaces without adding new material. 

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