The Soler-Vallès family wanted to transform their home, a flat in a block built in the 1960s on Carrer Manuel de Falla, in the neighbourhood of Sarrià, Barcelona. The existing layout and current state of the home required a full renovation to fit the family’s needs and current regulations.
The layout was old-fashioned, choppy and created way too many hallways. The space inside the home was divided transversally by a load-bearing wall that established the division between living and sleeping spaces. The wet areas, one bathroom and the kitchen, are in the space that looks onto a light shaft, which houses the water, gas and sewer pipes. The kitchen, too far from the living and dining rooms, was too small. The size of the hallways and the bedrooms follow outdated standards that, in some cases like the height of hallways or the width of doors, are no longer even legal.
The spaces look out in two directions. On the southern façade, open to the street, the common living space leads out onto a terrace and the bedrooms have different sized windows. On the back façade, which looks onto a light shaft, the kitchen has one window and the bedrooms look out on an outdoor washroom, the only space in the flat that hasn’t been enclosed.
Proposed renovation of the interior
The renovation was based on flipping the existing layout so that the social areas of the home (kitchen, living room and studio) would look out onto the street and enjoy the sunlight, leaving the more intimate spaces, like the bedrooms, to the heart of the home, around the light shaft.
The new layout aims to create a spatial and functional link between three main spaces on the front façade (the kitchen, living/dining room and studio), creating a transversal relationship between the social areas of the home. To do so, we proposed two new openings in the load-bearing wall, each the size of a doorway, to allow more natural light in from the street-facing façade. At the same time, the renovation didn’t maintain the existing interior walls or the dark, narrow hallways.
This layout required several structural changes: creating new openings in the load-bearing wall, raising the door frames that remained, reinforcing the side of the outdoor washroom to hold the new enclosure and repairing the existing beam.
The structural proposal
The proposed layout and its implications for the structure are the result of a careful study of the structural system, preservation of the building and reinforcement project executed in 2005.
The solution studied includes implementing a double beam running from one side of the wall to the other, where the new openings would be, and attached with bushing tap connectors. These two beams, together, act as a threshold and allow the wall to be opened up without reinforcing or running any risks during the works. At the same time, the double horizontal beam allows us to add a strut, which didn’t exist previously, on the oblique side of the façade, acting as a brace and clamp on the vertical cracks detected.