Located in the heart of Barcelona, in the district of Gracia, la Diana is the exercise of linking visually, volumetrically and functionally two independent and alienated entities: a commercial space on the ground floor and an apartment on the first floor.
In retrospect, a shop on the ground floor and an apartment on the first floor, both abandoned. Freed from any functionality, CRÜ Studio architects accepted the challenge of transforming this place into a real architectural work.
The architectural strategy was based on drilling the existing slab to create a large enough opening that would activate the relationship in section between the two floors, and in which the stairs are placed. This stairway, forged from three different materials with high contrast colors, such as white tile, wood and steel, is fragmented into two parts to offer a more human scale on the ground floor thanks to a 2,20 m high metal platform that acts as an intermediate landing and simultaneously segments the living area and the kitchen. On the first floor, the night areas are organized around the void of the double space. The partitions are solved with equipped walls that include storage, room doors and upper glass panels that allow natural light from the façades into the inner of the house. At the back of the plot, the inner patio was emptied out of an existing roof and the rear façade was recovered. That way the program of the ground floor develops between two patios giving intimacy to the interior space. The intimacy problem given by the “ground floor” was approached by generating a semi-exterior patio that would act as a filter between the street and the interior.
The materiality is responds to the will of recovering and/or emphasize the original condition of traditional architecture. A piece of natural terracota is placed as the pavement and the walls are stripped to expose the original brickwork with all its imperfections and textures. On the first floor, a concrete strip draws the perimeter of the outer walls and solves the intersection with the ceiling. Again, this strip divides the wall into two heights, adding domesticity to the space, making architecture react to the human scale. The rooms are also divided into two distinct parts by this concrete strip, but here is much larger than in the rest of the floor. We notice that the large room is in direct link with the corridor: we then understand that it is the master room of this first floor. The bathrooms emanate completely from the general style of the whole apartment. Thanks to the orange tiles, they have their own identity, without really deviating from this "terracota" color, the aim being to keep a perfect harmony between each room.
This project reveals some strong things: the contrast, through materials, forms and textures, which creates an identity specific to this architecture as opposed to the fact that there is no real break, strictly speaking, between each element: everything seems linked, in a controlled harmony.