San Antoni Lofts – a succession of rooms that connect the street to the courtyard through a system of sliding doors and porticos.
About Román Izquierdo Bouldstridge Studio
Román Izquierdo Bouldstridge is an architectural studio that has projects in many diverse areas, from urban planning and architecture to interior design and objects. Their artistic experimentation and research is mixed with their professional practice in each and every project.
The studio takes into consideration the daily experience of people, seeking a balance between functionality, relationship with the environment and beauty of spaces created to be lived in a natural way.
The communication with the clients is a very close one, from the design process when the company tries to understand the client’s needs and expectations to the final details. The studio applies innovative tailored solutions and paying special attention to detail.
Román Izquierdo Bouldstridge is graduated in the Barcelona School of Architecture (ETSAB). His professional career starts in the Japanese studios Tetsuo Kondo Architects, Junya Ishigami+Associates and Kengo Kuma and Associates. He founded his own studio based in Barcelona in 2014.
About San Antoni Lofts Projects
San Antoni Lofts consist of the conversion of an 1880’s apartment into two lofts, located in the Sant Antoni district of Barcelona. By creating a succession of rooms that connect the street to the courtyard through a system of sliding doors and porticos, reminiscent of the Japanese traditional house, a new housing scenery is created.
The original dwelling was totally compartmentalized by corridors and rooms barely connected to each other and to the outside. They tried demolishing the existent partition walls, floor and ceilings because they wanted to create the first intention of open up space and to recuperate the original high ceilings, increasing the incidence of natural lighting and promoting ventilation.
Existent structure, formed by a sequence of load-bearing walls and wooden beams
The design takes advantage of the building existent structure, formed by a sequence of load-bearing walls and wooden beams, to create a simple and poetic language that generates a flexible program. The load walls were all altered to achieve a repetition of an ordered geometry which establishes the limits in-between the different rooms. New openings were set up by structural reinforcements and apertures that were no longer needed were filled in.
This element is built again twice to meet the dwelling functional requirements; therefore, the existent structure defines the program while the program defines the modified structure. With this intervention a new 23 meters long visual crosses the space from the street to the courtyard, giving rise to a succession of thresholds and rooms related to the exterior that enhances the visual depth of the lofts.
Flexible and diffuse limits
The boundaries between the different spaces have the same ratio of wall surface and aperture, which opens the possibility of installing chestnut sliding doors that completely cover the white walls when there are opened. This system generates flexible and diffuse limits that create a dynamic composition where the rooms can be completely, partially or non-related to each other. Each room is an entity in itself when doors are closed whereas each room is part of a complete entity.
The doors expand or contract the space while providing privacy to the inhabitants, acting as light and shadow filters. These svelte elements give a new scale to the space emphasizing its vertical dimension. Another visual effect that provides the perception of being in a higher space is the fact that the apertures have the same proportion but larger dimensions than a conventional door.
Flexible shelving system
The lofts storage needs are solved by an innovative 23 meters long shelving structure made of timber ladders with an in-between distance of 60 centimeters. The rungs of the 41 ladders support the white steel bars and the white lacquered wooden boards, which stabilize the horizontal loads of the system and have different functions depending on the height they are placed.
The program of the rooms defines the use of this modular light system; in the living rooms it serves as a large bench and a library, in the bedrooms it is an open wardrobe, in the laundry room it integrates the clothes dryer and washing machine, in the kitchens the shelves provide storage capacity, integrate the fridge and act as a kitchen bar and finally, in the lofts entrance hall the cupboard hides the boilers and electrical panels.
The longitudinal storage unit can also be modified to meet the users’ requirements without altering its initial concept in coherence with the concept of rooms with exchangeable programs. Indeed, this flexibility opens the possibility to unify again the two lofts in a single dwelling.
The light and time draw the shadows of the subtle objects
The vertical rhythm of the ladders along the entire space gives a thickness to its perimeter wall while illuminating the interior. The white painted walls and ceilings, in addition to the continuous polished concrete floor, form the envelope of scenery where light and time draw the shadows of the subtle objects. Space could be understood as a succession of perforated white boxes that makes the transition of natural lighting, giving the sensation of living inside large lamps that the sliding doors can turn on or turn off.
The hanging plants, in harmony with the chestnut structure, form a dynamic abstraction of trunks, branches and leaves that brings life to the created atmosphere. At the same time, the presence of plants improves the interior air quality and regulates the humidity. The living, dead and inert material merge into a new domestic environment where the different degrees of temporal impermanence are reflected.