A Dramatic Apartment Renovation in Barcelona Features Salvaged Tile and Brick
Built in the early twentieth century, it had been partitioned into small rooms that were connected by shadowy hallways. The impression of the architect, Carles Enrich, was that the apartment's potential had been "hidden behind the consequences of several interventions" over the years.
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In order to modernize the apartment for a family of four and bring in more natural light, Enrich had to reverse the effects of those previous, intrusive renovations. So the team started by "erasing the envelope," stripping the walls, floors, and ceiling of their lackluster finishes, and bringing down unnecessary partitions to ease the circulation between living spaces.
In doing so, Enrich was able to visually connect interior rooms to the apartment's series of enclosed courtyards. Now, new windows and glass doors wrap two small solariums while expansive, retractable glass doors open to a larger intermediary patio.
During construction, the crew managed to save and reuse 90 percent of the existing brick and cement tiles, relocating the latter to create floor mosaics in the kitchen, bathroom, dressing room, and circulation areas.
The hallway was also lined with an exposed wood framework and a series of discreet closets, so that the adjoining rooms do not have to host storage furniture and can be flexible in their purpose.
A detached storage space became a music studio and is accessed via the large courtyard. There, the team inserted a pergola structure made of steel and rope that will support climbing vines, like jasmine and wisteria, to provide a more temperate spot to enjoy the patio during future hot months. To that structure, they also attached a floating steel-and-wood staircase that leads to the studio's roof, where a garden will be planted.