Architecture – The residential building houses the occupants of the Casas Baratas – cheap houses -built in 1929 on an estate in the district. The project is part of a larger plan that anticipates the demolition of the 784 single-storey Casas Baratas and their replacement with freestanding blocks. Agreed with the occupants, the change in building typology offers several advantages of high-rise living, such as excellent views of the nearby river Besòs.
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Life traditionally spilled into the street between the Casas Baratas. The original low-rising planning structure and the closeness of the neighbours produced a form of community life that gave the district the atmosphere of a village within the city. “To preserve such lifestyle, we created a building that is as permeable as possible.” Explain Marta Peris and José Toral of Barcelona-based studio Peris+Toral Arquitectes.
Indeed, “the building is wrapped by an exposed brickwork creating a porous lattice facade that brings light and naturally ventilates both the apartments and the communal areas.” The entrance is via communal courtyards that lead into the foyers at ground floor level. On the first floor, spacious terraces of 12 sqm and almost three metres deep are designed as outdoor rooms overlooking the new park that borders the riverfront.
Inside each dwelling, the position of the bathroom at the centre of the floor plan creates circulation around it that makes the apartment seem bigger. This layout favours cross ventilation and opens up the floor plan to both air and views, with long lines of sight between the two façades.
Finally, the metal balcony system offers a structure that can incorporate metal mesh as a support for plants to provide sun shading, as well as blinds and awnings.
The car park is laid out on a single level with natural ventilation and lighting, offering a space that can, in time, adapt to other uses.
All photos by ©José Hevia, courtesy of Peris+Toral Arquitectes.
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