Renovation of a duplex apartment at Santa María Micaela Housing Cooperative
The dwelling is located within a renown building by architect Santiago Artal, erected between 1958 and 1961 for the Sales Agents Cooperative in Santa María Micaela street in Valencia, Spain. It is listed in the Docomomo Ibérico Foundation index and protected as a Property of Local Relevance.
The dwelling still preserved the original layout, as well as elements such as the iron window frames, the mosaic tiling or the solid wood staircase. Our project attempts to recreate a hypothetical original state that never was, but which would still seem plausible nonetheless — according to Artal’s referents—, showcasing original elements but also adapting the layout to present standards for comfort, sustainability and use. It could be understood as an attempt to queer up domestic spaces and to reflect on housing models produced by pre-democratic Spanish social standards.
A certain promiscuity of space revolves around the restored staircase, from the kitchen downstairs to the shifted bathroom upstairs, clearing enough room to create a new antechamber and opening multiple circulations even within the most private rooms. The same materials and color schemes found in the building are introduced in the shape of latticework, steel window frames, hydraulic and glass tiling. Thus we reach a deliberate disarray between old and new, not seeking to re-establish the original or transforming it into a small museum, but trying to freely interpret its original values. In summary, the question behind the project is not “how did it used to be?”, but “how could it have been?”.