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

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

By Kate Reggev
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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

Hammocks stretch across the side patio.

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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.

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

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.

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

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.

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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