The project is straightforward. It is about stripping an old commercial warehouse where there was an old family hardware store, dividing it, to keep only the highest volume, and precisely enhancing this, the volume—the void.
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Although the beginnings of the study are in the city of Barcelona, while we were studying at the school of architecture, Nora’s choir and roots have a strong base in Mallorca. After many years in Muro, a town for which we are grateful for the multiple opportunities it has given us during our early years, we are presented with the possibility of designing a new space to continue developing our activity. We take on this challenge with great enthusiasm since we firmly believe that the workspace must be inspiring for its inhabitants and the people visiting us.
In a first gesture of cleaning, we dismantled the large shelves that invaded the space and blocked the feeling of space that we knew was hidden. Once it was emptied, it was also necessary to get rid of the floors, which over the years had been changing and different tiles had been superimposed that reflected the passage of time and passing fashions.
The second milestone was to demolish the “batiport”. For the ignorant in the matter, this element is typical of island architecture and is any structure that enables a previous space inside, having exceeded the threshold of the façade, but still exterior, creating a kind of porch to protect you from the inclemency of the weather. The elimination of this piece is temporary and before the work is finished, it will return with more force than ever.
Thirdly, a new life is given to the walls of the warehouse. They are scraped, recovering the character of walls with great power in terms of their texture and they are painted white since, as we mentioned, we are interested in continuing to build the void and these enclosures will be its container. Together with this, a new floor is made using polished concrete. No finish will be given nor will it be vitrified since, once again, we do not want it to take prominence over the air that we will encapsulate, but lines will be drawn with the expansion joints that will form a 3 x 3 grid.
These 9 quadrants will be the different spaces that will absorb the different uses we will ask of the space. The two rows at the back will be freer and will include work tables, samples, a dining room, and a rest area, with the possibility of completely changing, given that all the furniture is mobile. Modular furniture bases made of spruce and pine wood are used to create storage surfaces on which laminated wood panels are supported to join everything together. Underneath, each piece of furniture has its own wheels, which allows the space to adapt when the space has to be used for activities with a greater influx of people.
Architecture-Studio is a French architecture practice created in 1973 in Paris. Around its 14 partners, Architecture-Studio brings together an international team of architects, urban planners, interior designers, quantity surveyors and sustainable design specialists of twenty five different nationalities.
The Seat of the European Parliament in Strasbourg, the Arab World Institute in Paris (together with Jean Nouvel), and the Notre-Dame-de-l’Arche-d’Alliance Church in Paris stand among Architecture-Studio’s best known projects. Architecture-Studio has been developing over the years and has established an office in Shanghai, and CA’ASI in Venice, Italy.
Architecture-Studio defines architecture as “an art that is socially committed and engaged in the construction of mankind’s living environment”. Architecture-Studio’s work is based on group culture, developing a real team work through a collective conception of Architecture; a will to go beyond individual interests in favour of dialogue and debate, thereby transforming all individual knowledge into collective creative potential.
Architecture-Studio believes that this also involves being open to encounters that can alter the way of thinking or, at least, inflect it (a book, a film, a man, a mistake on a building site…). This approach is a key to the conception process; a process which is not linear but iterative, not static but dynamic, not only intellectual and abstract but organic and concrete.
The row closest to the facade of the street will house three special quadrants. The change in slope to drain towards the facade gives us the possibility to emphasize the difference and we decide to build a large “batiport”. This allows the entry of the pavement from the sidewalk to the central quadrant, which brings the street into the studio and adds extra light to the interior. On top of this new “batiport” and unlike what is conventionally done, we decided to build a wooden box with two small guest rooms. With this gesture, the central quadrant takes up all the height of the warehouse and divides the central row into three spaces with their own volume. On one side we build a block of exposed concrete furniture that will hide bathrooms and kitchen while the other, with a more private character thanks to the curtains, will be used for meetings.
Finally, but not least important, a skylight is opened at the back of the warehouse across its width, letting the sun rays pamper the walls and illuminate them. An empty space. A blank slate to start new projects and embark on new adventures. A support on which to hold workshops, collaborations, events, galleries, or parties. A full space. A place full of enthusiasm, ideas, and motivation. Furniture with wheels, giant plants, and samples of hundreds of local materials. A new home to work, create, cry, and laugh.
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