Thursday, 07 May 2020 11:23

Palatial preservation

    Casa Burés was built between 1900 and 1905 by the Catalan Architect Francesc Berenguer i Mestres, a close collaborator of Antoni Gaudí. The building was named after its first owner, Francesc Burés, a businessman with one of Spain’s most successful textile companies.

    The building has 7700m2 distributed over six floors and has been listed since 1979, enjoying the highest protection category as cultural heritage. The building was nearly abandoned for some years, and some original elements were vandalised.

    After three years of careful restoration work by the best artisans, Casa Burés has emerged as one of the most representative Modernist-style buildings in Barcelona. The original Modernist architectural and interior elements were respected and restored because of both regulatory requirements and a high sensibility of all the stakeholders – including the developer, city authorities, project team and the artisans and restoration experts involved in the works.

    The interior design project of Casa Burés had been carried out by Estudio Vilablanch and TDB Arquitectura, commissioned by Bonavista Developments.

    The challenge was to transform the historical and listed building into 26 exclusive residences with high-quality common areas, while preserving its original rich heritage. The interior design project had two goals; to recover and highlight the building’s original decorative elements, and to adapt the housing to contemporary regulatory and functional needs in terms of distribution, technology, safety, accessibility, comfort and community.

    All the original architectural and decorative existing elements were restored, while new materials were added where needed. The new materials should not compete nor imitate the original ones.

    The team defined three interior design concepts for this residential building matching the intrinsic qualities of each existing space. Three lofts and the common basement areas were recovered to their original industrial character; while two palatial residences were carefully restored respecting the existing modernist elements. Meanwhile, 21 flats were conceived as contemporary residences. The conceptualisation included design and definition of materials and finishes (pavements, coatings, colours, kitchens, bathrooms, doors, lighting project, furniture, etc.).

    Lofts and common areas

    The ground floor and the basement were originally used for Burés textile industry. They did not have Modernist decoration, but a strong industrial personality. The new interior concept recovered this industrial character, with big open spaces and high ceilings, concrete floors, iron columns and old brick walls left uncovered as well as kitchens and furniture that strengthen the industrial character. The ground floor was transformed into three lofts and the basement into amenity areas for community use (a swimming pool, a spa, a gym, a cellar, an open kitchen, a terrace and spaces for social events), recovering their original industrial aesthetics.

    Palatial residences

    The original Burés palace-like residence, located on the main floor, was split into two 500m2 magnificent flats. Being the richest floor in terms of decorative Modernist elements, all of them were carefully restored into the noblest of flats (with mosaics and marquetry in pavements, stained-glass windows, frescoed walls and ceilings, wooden decorative elements and ceilings with reliefs). The original elements were restored, while new materials were added where needed. The new materials and furniture pieces were equally refined but silent, not very ornate, light and with colours in harmony with space to highlight the valuable historical elements yet not compete neither imitate them.

    Apartments and attics

    Flats located in the upper floors, initially conceived for rent, were transformed into 16 apartments and five attics. These 21 residences combine strong original Modernist spaces with more contemporary ones. The old elements were found in the spaces located in the crown of the building that faces the facade; these original elements were restored. In the interior areas of the flats, where the original elements didn’t exist or couldn’t be preserved, the decision was to incorporate new materials that would allow the contrast between old and new ones. White-coloured and oak wood was added as main elements in order not to compete, but to highlight and contrast the original decorative elements.

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