The project is based on the proposal that the existing building of Can Biel, a late 19th century construction, must be preserved and turned into 4 dwellings.
The building is made of stone walls and 4m beams, with very deteriorated slabs and open heights that are unsuitable for the intended uses. The proposal is to extend horizontally the section while preserving the existing volume. As a result, the building is 60 meters long and has 2 levels.
From this perspective, the intervention involves reinforcing the existing construction through the new floor slabs and an external structure that provides a support for the 8m-high stone walls. The new slabs are designed with a mixed concrete-wood structure and include internal metal braces that link the two longitudinal stone walls. The permeability of the northern retaining wall is allowed in order to leave it visible. This decision requires a surface recollection on the ground floor and to manage the structural and finishing elements in contact with this wall.
In terms of materials used, the project is based on rough materials and, essentially, on dry construction, with the exception of the brickwork and the repointing of the existing walls and jambs. The objective is twice: on the one hand, to reduce construction costs, to build and allocate resources only to the essential; on the other hand, to preserve and revalue the historical memory of the original building, as the change to a lightweight system makes it possible to understand and differentiate the original elements from those of the restoration.
Finally, regarding the interior spaces, it is found that, in dealing with such a small structural grid and with the aim of providing maximum width and sense of open space, two basic strategies have been used: The first is to open up and release the interior space in section, creating double and triple spaces; the second is to make the most of all the existing windows and to create new ones, which are strategically placed to provide views and sunlight. With this double strategy, we ensure that the views are extended and the feeling of more interior space is amplified both horizontally and vertically.