Both located in the Eixample quarter, Carrer de la Diputació is a seven-story building situated on a 7.5m wide and 28m deep site, while Carrer de Nàpols occupies a prominent corner site with a singular 45-degree oblique floor plan. In response to a limited ground area, both projects are conceived as vertical extensions of the city and reflect the studio’s creative and pragmatic understanding of local planning policies and constraints.
Intent on retaining a contextual essence, local culture guides the material and aesthetic choices for both projects. Circulating local restrictions for a classical, hierarchical floor division, the cladding of both multilayered façades; complementing windows with filtering panels, is folded in and out, reflecting Barcelona’s playful architecture.
At Carrer de la Diputació, the hybrid façade is clad with openable red stretch steel panels, boldly calling to the brick colours of the historic Plaza de Toros.
Fixed over a first partly concealed window front, the terracotta panels of the Carrer de Nápols play with the colour of the city’s traditional plaster façades, replacing them with bespoke ceramics tiles instead. Continuously referencing the surrounding culture, Heim Balp expose a porous building, where visible French windows and hidden loggias coexist, easily allowing residents to access the rest of the city.
At la Diputació, the main common area in the basement, equipped with a kitchen and a shared laundry room, as well as leisure and work areas. The other two social spaces contrive of a mezzanine, and large rooftop space that opens onto the luminous atrium, the facing street, and over the rest of the city.
Our shared time in Berlin in the 1990s has led us to conceive of space as inherently raw and full of opportunities. As a core part of a space, architecture has a considerable potential to shape the experiences within it. By fusing various functions; the public and the private, the social, the commercial, and the cultural. These two Barcelonian designs cultivate endless interactions with and between the individuals that inhabit them, ultimately generating a new, essential social energy.Michal Heim and Pietro Balp, co-founding partners, Heim Balp Architekten