TRANSFORMATION OF THE OLD THREAD STORAGE BUILDING
IN A SOCIAL HOUSING COMPLEX
The transformation project of the warehouse building of the old industrial complex of Fabra & Coats in Barcelona is included in the process of reconversion of this textile complex of the XIX and XX centuries to incorporate it to the "BCN creation factories" network. The project will bring to the Sant Andreu district more than 28,000 m2 of facilities and, as a first time in an industrial heritage transformation, social housing is included. The project includes 46 housing units of two bedrooms: 41 units for young people and 5 units as a temporal residence for artists in relation with the complex.
The intervention in the building activates all the elements of the original building creating the new program, and reuses its physical, spatial and historical qualities to make the new construction more efficient and to reinforce the character of the original building.
1 The original building is 100m long, where the first decision was to bring the value of its maximum dimension, which is the length. We access through the center creating an interior square where the promenade of the interior stairs begins in diagonal double ascending. The original building is communicated physically and visually from the ground level until the roof structure.
2 The new construction is by assemblage, it is a dry construction with just few materials, as in the original industrial building. Wood is used in all its forms: solid, agglomerated, cross laminated... Materials are joined as if it was a textile. To sew and un-sew, the new construction by its character and assemblage, can be assembled and disassembled, so it is "reversible".
Structural reuse of the two inner floors of the building, using them without any reinforcement (load capacity of 1,100kg/m2) to support on both floors the two new levels of housing.
3 Façade and roof of the building as a thermic buffer for the housing units. The new housing units are placed separated from the façade and the original roof of the building, with a new wooden façade. The in-between space is created to circulate the air; therefore, the housing units do not require the air conditioning the most part of the year.
4 Action: Industrial heritage + social housing + cultural complex. The housing units will be occupied by young people and artists of the complex, who will make the most of the social common space. This space will combine temporary art interventions, with spaces for working and exchanging ideas, acting this way the building as a point of union between the district of San Andreu and the interior square of Can Fabra.
One side of the building, the result of an extension on 1950, has been destined for the headquarters of the “Colla Castellera Jove” in Barcelona. The adjacent building, 100 m long, has been transformed into a complex of 46 social housing units.
1 The new building is organized following two principles:
- Interior-exterior continuity: the interior spaces get open to the public square of the complex, where outdoor training can be done.
- Visual interaction between the interior spaces: gaps and transparent metal enclosures allow us to follow the activities of the human towers from anywhere in the building. 2 To configure the main space, the training room for human towers (10x10x10 m), is based on the analysis of human towers: pyramidal structures that work, ideally, with pure compression. Due to their operation, they fill the space, creating an empty space around them. The more load a floor has, the more section it has, and the drop of loads is displayed in the shape of the castle. To prevent buckling due to movements or collapse due to excess weight, the obstacles are placed: “pinya, folre, manilles”. The new structure is conceived in a complementary way to a human tower: it works like a shell, creating an empty space inside. The upper floor under roof is a three-dimensional suspended structure that does not make its operation evident. It is formed by the slabs, the trusses and the roof, and is supported by the perimeter walls, which work at flexo-compression locked by the slabs. 3 The new construction is by “assembly”. It is a dry and reversible construction made, as in the adjacent building of houses with a limited number of materials: steel, wood and brick, all of them already existing in the original building. 4 The existing building acts as a thermal buffer for the building. The 45 cm brick wall and the ceramic tile roof of the original building provide with its thermal insulation mass and the façade of the upper room is separated from the original façade, creating an intermediate space through which the air circulates with the aim of that the room should not be heated for most of the year.