Friday 17 Jan 2014
Anna and Eugeni Bach of Bach Arquitectes have renovated the top two floors of an apartment block in Barcelona's Eixample, turning a pair of apartments into a single one with two floors for a young family. This has been named Urgell Apartment.
Naturally the organisation of the apartment orbits around the staircase which becomes something more than just a communication device between the two floors. It is the space for visual relationship between the two floors, via an inner window and a large opening on the upper studio which allows visual contact from the upper floor to the kitchen downstairs. This easy visual contact allows for the flat to be understood as whole and not just as the juxtaposition of two different floors.
Given the surface of each floor, Anna and Eugeni understood that they had to organise the lower one as the main floor, which accommodates the entrance, living room, dining room, kitchen, a room for children and a bathroom; while the upper floor is a more intimate place for the parents, with their bedroom, bathroom and a study room.
On the outer spaces, a folding ladder gives the lower terrace extra room, leaving the top terrace as a space for occasional events. A shade on the top terrace offers shadow to all these spaces and closes the space which gives a feeling of being somewhere between the inside and outside of the apartment.
The existing hydraulic floor tiles had been removed in earlier refurbishments and there were only enough pieces for half of the lower floor surface, but luckily at the same time that the architects started the works, there was an other refurbishment in the same block who were going to throw all of their floor tiles away. Using those tiles together with the existing ones in the apartment, they checked the possibilities for different patterns on the lower floor. The final solution was to place the different tiles in stripes, despite the walls and partitions, giving a feeling of continuity that looks at the floor plan as a continuous space.
On the lower floor, all the woodwork, both doors and windows, were preserved, maintaining the spirit of the Barcelona Eixample that this flat once had. Upstairs, where there were no elements worth preserving, both floor and windows were replaced by new items giving a more contemporary feel.