Project Strategy & Sustainability

The project addresses the current dichotomy of many urban areas on whether to renovate a building or build it anew. In the limits of the historic heart of Durango (Spain), on the border of Mañaria stream, there was a mid-XIX century building on the verge of collapse. Instead of following the economic logic and demolishing it, a more sensible and sustainable approach led the project, reducing construction waste and giving a new life to the existing building, including a full restoration of its timber structure. This strategy also facilitated the operation financially, allowing for construction phases: first, the stairwell and ground-floor retail space were refurbished and on a second phase the four floors of apartments above.

Structural Design Challenges

One of the main design challenges was to insert a new stairwell and lift as structurally independent as possible, since adding new loads on a historic timber building is generally not the best idea. The new core is a lightweight structure made of steel and glass, with wooden details where it is going to be touched. It relies only on itself, with flexible connections to the existing floor plates and its independent foundation.

Design & Details

The main facade and most public side of the building, appeared as ruled by order and symmetry. Its rear facade, on the other hand, had an organic and messy composition of openings, revealing a prior state when it had a second skin of enclosed balconies. Those could not be preserved or rebuilt, due to council regulations. What seems logical from the outside, poses an interesting design challenge in the building's interior: to harmonize those antagonistic sides. An internal second skin made of painted timber was designed for this purpose, giving a consistent rhythm to an otherwise chaotic back facade.

Another challenge was the requirement for radical flexibility for the first floor, which is to be used as a showroom and meeting area when the building is finished and as an apartment later on. Thus, each space has inherent duplicity to it: waiting area-living room, meeting room-dining, workshop area-main bedroom and so on. For this reason, the kitchen can be open or hidden away.

In general, construction details follow a desire to show and differentiate what was there and has a historic value from what is new. Where windows have artisanal stone lintels and frames, these were carefully cleaned and are now visible. The structural intricacy of timber beams that compose each floor is revealed too, looking to tell the history of the building to generations to come.

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Modern home with Living Room, Storage, Ceiling Lighting, and Medium Hardwood Floor. Apartment interior Photo  of Uribarri Building

Apartment interior

Modern home with Bedroom, Medium Hardwood Floor, and Ceiling Lighting. Floor to ceiling door, apartment interior Photo 2 of Uribarri Building

Floor to ceiling door, apartment interior

Modern home with Staircase, Metal Railing, Metal Tread, and Wood Railing. Building core, structurally independent from the existing building Photo 3 of Uribarri Building

Building core, structurally independent from the existing building

Modern home with Windows, Wood, and Skylight Window Type. Restored timber structure Photo 4 of Uribarri Building

Restored timber structure

Modern home with Staircase, Wood Railing, Metal Railing, and Metal Tread. Handrail detail Photo 5 of Uribarri Building

Handrail detail

Modern home with Outdoor, Front Yard, and Walkways. Building facade Photo 6 of Uribarri Building

Building facade

Modern home with Living Room, Storage, Shelves, and Sectional. Axonometric view Photo 7 of Uribarri Building

Axonometric view

Modern home with Exterior. Site Plan Photo 8 of Uribarri Building

Site Plan

Ground Floor Plan Photo 9 of Uribarri Building modern home

Ground Floor Plan

Apartment Plan Photo 10 of Uribarri Building modern home

Apartment Plan

Building Section Photo 11 of Uribarri Building modern home

Building Section

Building Section Photo 12 of Uribarri Building modern home

Building Section

Building Elevations Photo 13 of Uribarri Building modern home

Building Elevations

Core Model Photo 14 of Uribarri Building modern home

Core Model

Building Lobby Photo 15 of Uribarri Building modern home

Building Lobby

Modern home with Staircase, Metal Railing, Wood Railing, and Metal Tread. Detail of structurally independent building core Photo 16 of Uribarri Building

Detail of structurally independent building core

Modern home with Staircase, Metal Tread, Metal Railing, and Wood Railing. Detail of building core Photo 17 of Uribarri Building

Detail of building core

Modern home with Staircase, Metal Railing, Wood Railing, and Metal Tread. Detail of building core Photo 18 of Uribarri Building

Detail of building core

Detail, access to the apartments Photo 19 of Uribarri Building modern home

Detail, access to the apartments

Apartment interior Photo 20 of Uribarri Building modern home

Apartment interior

Credits

Posted By
Architect
  • Jon Polo Iturregui
  • María José Orihuela
  • Polo Estudio
Interior Design
  • Polo Estudio
Builder
  • Polo Estudio
Photographer
  • Luis Díaz Díaz

Overview

Structure
  • House (Multi Residence)
  • Year
  • 2018