CaSA: Rocha Apartment

Barcelona Based Architects Transform a Rundown Space to Holiday Bliss

Newly refurbished from its previously dilapidated state, this 6th floor Barcelona apartment is completely unrecognisable from the state that Italian architects Matteo Colombo and Andrea Serboli found it in. Together they form CaSA, an office of architecture established in Barcelona that has worked on projects in Spain, Italy, Belgium, Russia, Brazil and Sweden.

This most recent project of theirs has seen the neglected spaces of this apartment completely re-imagined, with all existing partitions demolished, and four new bathrooms being created, three of which are en-suite. ‘It was a great effort of imagination, since the original property was dull, sombre and in very bad condition.’ Matteo told us. ‘We had a limited budget but within it we were given total freedom.’

The kitchen has been moved to be part of the wide living room, all of which contribute to giving the apartment an attractive and contemporary holiday atmosphere.

The chosen palette of materials included a micro-cement light grey matt floor, natural timber, and a dash of a different colour for each bathroom, and two shades in the corridor.

We asked Matteo and Andrea a little more about the apartment – and you can scroll down to view more images in the slideshow.

The Plus: What is your normal artistic/technical process when embarking on a new project?
Matteo Colombo:
First we need to understand the client’s needs and possibilities. Then we have to explore the potential of the site. We always try to involve some level of research, new solutions, materials we never used before. It’s a way to grow, and not to get bored.

TP: What is your favourite room you created in the apartment?
The day area, especially the terrace and the indoor area next to it is very special. The terrace had been covered with a roof and closed by but we decided to open it up. This extended it visually through the use of materials.
The terracotta-tiled floor forms a seat all around and through the window, and you can sit on the window. The bar table passes trough the newly opened, arched, pivoting window, to form a dining terrace table. We looked for continuity between outside and inside, to blur the boundaries.
Andrea Serboli: Open bathrooms were a challenge as well; they visually enlarge the bedrooms, and add a dash of colour through the use of tiles. We used the white lines of the tubes structure to suggest a partition, leaving it as light as possible.

TP: In building communal spaces how much do other people’s opinions come into play- professional and non-professional?
In competitions of bigger buildings we favoured proposals of communal, participative lifestyles, like in the dwelling project we did for Kalmar, in Sweden; or the Thalatta Canoe Club in Messina, Sicily.

TP: What type of projects do you get the most satisfaction from working on?
All projects are important to us. To do someone’s home is a great responsibility, and we take great care in it. You need to understand their real needs. Sometimes client don’t know what they haven’t yet experienced. We have to show them possibilities they might not consider.
We’d love to do a restaurant, since all senses are involved.
AS: To do project for privates is very satisfactory. As the relation is direct, you have a direct feedback. Project for a community have a bigger impact, but feedback can only be seen on the long run.

TP: What is it like collaborating together?
We come from different backgrounds, so we have a bigger baggage of experience. But we complement each other very well in the process, and we tend to agree on almost everything. We have a common vision.
MC: And you can laugh, which is always good.

TP: What are you working on currently that really excites you?
We are working on a wonderful penthouse with terrace and breathtaking views on emblematic Paseo de Gràcia, in Barcelona. It was a challenge to transform an office floor into a big family apartment.
AS: We have a retail project as well, but that is top secret!