Architects: Novan&Vesson Architects
Location: Corunna, Galicia, Spain
Architects: Novan&Vesson Architects
Project Year: 2009
From the architect. A dream come true... our study.
Our work is characterized by the sincerity of our projects. It is a continuous labor of searching the beauty of nakedness and the power of truth. It is based on experimentation, on investigation... going beyond of the assignment itself. We work from the concept of Total Project. Everything is design and any element and any detail is part of the whole.
Creating has an important component of playing... we like changing the sense of things, playing with shapes, with uses... questioning always what is evident.
We had no previous project, but we projected in situ as long as the work was being done.
The studio is located on the second storey of the first building block built on the enlargement of the city of A Coruña in 1899 designed by the architect Faustino Rodríguez. It consisted in a typology of a domestic flat with a professional office. The house was very divided (when a building was high considered by its number of rooms, not by its square meters). It showed a severe state of abandon and deterioration; we found a dark and lugubrious place. High rooms (3.2 meters high), a concrete back yard, a façade with two openings and a gallery.
Our aim was to convert the old home into a place where to create, to meditate, a workshop studio of architecture where we can generate ideas, not a factory of mass production of projects. A place of interchange where to celebrate many different social and cultural events as well as temporary exhibitions.
Transforming the existent reality in a diaphanous but at the same time articulated and sequenced space, which helps everyone to find their place.
Finding from the existent reality any living trace of the building's history, of the constructive systems, of the different art crafts, of the materials, which all belong to the original time. We have searched the inner values of each discovered element, the traces of different times, of different uses and interventions (lucky ones and unlucky others) taking off layers one by one, taking our time to get used to the changes made...
We have decided to raise the value of the building process, we think that the constructive detail itself has an aesthetic worth, a plasticity. However, there is a general obsession to hide them (plaster moldings, baseboards, embellishments in general...)
The discovery of the constructive system of the flat suggested the selective demolition of those elements not belonging to the constructive spirit of the original time. A contemporary reinterpretation based on beauty, not only of the construction at sight, but also of the detained time. The unrecoverable is recovered, using the granite wall bearings, the intermediate stanchions, made of pine, on which the wooden beams are based.
The selection respected all the original doors, without the partition walls. Vacuum is created from emptiness, giving it the sculptural main role. Doors became mobile scenery mechanisms... acting like sequential filters.
Other original furniture elements were recovered, like cupboards in order to, under modification, giving them new significances.
Very few elements were incorporated; the necessary equipment for the new use as furniture and illumination. Creating this way a permanent and unprejudiced dialog between the new and the old. They altogether created a new reality without conflict.
Thus, the evoking power of the ruin, as an intermediate time in the process of making/unmaking, suggests a space where something is left to be made/unmade.
The strength of the detained time in the unfinished space.
- The original wooden floor, also of pine wood, was slight polished to eliminate the dirt and was protected by a mate varnish in order to respect its natural look.
- The original plaster ceiling was rehabilitated where possible and preserving preexistent motifs. The supporting substructure (made with small boards) was shown where the bad state of the plastering made impossible the rehabilitation. With a superficial laying of white paint as glazein so we can see the marks and veins of the wood.
- Interior and exterior furniture was in good state, so it was simply rehabilitated and
painted. The original look of iron fittings was recovered as they were hidden under
successive and different paintings.
- The entrance door made with chestnut wood was also recovered. It was only cleaned and treated con special repair wax.
- Partition walls were made with a substructure of wooden boards held nailed only on the floor and ceiling and covered with another transversal substructure made of small boards supporting a final plaster finishing. Due to the bad state of the plaster of those
partition walls, the constructive system was discovered and cleaned, giving a laying of white painting as glazein. Doing that, marks and veins of the wood can be seen as scars, showing the time passed by them.
- New layers of heating, electricity, voice and data were made at sight. Heating was laid in copper and the rest in steel pipes. All mechanisms and radiators were designed, these last ones from an interchange of a commercial radiator.
- The location of the plumbing and sanitary components was decided from existent
- Almost all the furniture was designed, as well as lights, mechanisms, knobs, signs,
Vinyls, bookshelves, etc.
The result is a whole transformation of the place, a space where to be, to work, to enjoy, a space that has not lost its original domestic atmosphere and that has recovered the emotional memory of a home. Finally, a place where to live...