MOOD House Barcelona: Serene Beauty

ArchitectsGOKOSTUDIO
Project Completion DateSeptember 2019
LocationBarcelona, Spain (Eixample District)
Surface AreaHome in a multi-family building
1st floor / 1399.31 / 130 m2
Project BudgetEUR 280,000 
At the time of this writing, $333,632.60 USD
SourceV2comnewswire

Table of Contents

  1. The Demo Reel
  2. Eixample in Barcelona, Spain
    1. What are Chamfered Corners
    2. Ildefons Cerdà: Barcelona’s 19th Century Urban Planner
    3. The Modernisme Architects
    4. Antoni Gaudí: Transcended Modernisme
  3. The Mood House Project
    1. Project: A Huge Challenge
    2. Key Homeowner Project Requirements
    3. The Kitchen
    4. The Day-Time Area
    5. The Suite Bedroom
    6. The Hallway
  4. Gokostudio Architects
  5. The Image Gallery

The Demo Reel

Eixample in Barcelona, Spain

Hi again, beloved readers! Today’s write-up is about the Mood House, designed by Gokostudio Architects, with both located in Barcelona, Spain. Not anywhere in Barcelona, though. This home is located in a multi-family building in the district of Eixample.

Eixample, you ask? Viewing the photos above, you’d think you had a birds-eye view of some monstrous lego creation. However, that’s Eixample, known for its long straights, and obvious grid patterns. Eixample also has wide avenues and square blocks called chamfered corners.

What are Chamfered Corners

The chamfer is a transitional reference point between two faces of an object. Like a building corner. You’ve likely seen chamfers or experienced them in your own home or an office setting. The chamfer is used in counters, tabletops and other furniture to ease the edge and prevent injury, pain or bruising around sharp corners. Rounded edges are called bullnosed.

Consider some of Apple’s own products from the iPhone, Apple Watch, Apple Mouse, or the facade on the front of Saks Fifth Avenue in New York. Each has had or has a chamfered corner.

Ildefons Cerdà: Barcelona’s 19th Century Urban Planner

The father of this Barcelonian construct is none other than Ildefons Cerdà, a visionary, for this pioneering design. If you think about it, there’s no madness in this logic. The Eixample district has octagon-style blocks, to support broader street intersections. This helps improve visibility, ventilation and parking for modern Barcelonians.

The grid remains central to Barcelonian life. If you’ve visited beautiful Barcelona, an architectural wet dream, you may recall the frequency of schools, hospitals, and markets every few blocks. This was by design and part of Cerdà’s vision. We have traveled to South America, in countries like Colombia, and seen similar patterns. This urban plan has been adopted by others. Does make the needs of the inhabitants well placed, does it not? Hardly need a vehicle to go shopping as we do in North America if the main services are within walking proximity of daily life.

The Modernisme Architects

Part of the Eixample district was influenced by Modernista (Modernisme in Catalan) architects of the time. Catalan modernism is considered a cultural movement, common around the end of the 19th century (Industrial Revolution), with a deep connection to Catalonia and Barcelona at that time.

The connection goes much deeper, with art and literature, driving the search for new entitlement for Catalan society, a dominant culture within Spain back then. Many would argue the cultural art and literature movement was vindication for the Catalin identity, expressed largely with architecture, but did include painting and sculpture. Further expression of this identity was defined through decorative artistry and the literary arts. This included poets, fiction, drama, and design through cabinets (carpentry), ceramics (ceramic tiles), glass-making, silver, and goldsmithing.

Of all, the most influential Eixample architect was Antoni Gaudí. However, there were many other contributors, responsible for 500 buildings in Barcelona (but not all within Eixample). They include Josep Domènech i Estapà, Josep Puig i Cadafalch, Josep Vilaseca i Casanovas, Enric Sagnier i Villavecchia.

Antoni Gaudí: Transcended Modernisme

A Catalin architect, Antoni Gaudí, is considered the greatest advocate for Modernisme (Catalin Modernism). His key works, found mainly in Barcelona, are extremely unique, and distinctly individual. Take his main work, the church of Sagrada Familia. His works in the Eixample include the Casa Batlló and the Casa Milà, both found on the Passeig de Gràcia.

The Passeig de Gràcia is one of the major avenues in Barcelona, with many celebrated architectural structures, and represents one of the most important businesses and shopping areas in the city. It is regarded as the most expensive street in Barcelona and Spain.

Antoni Gaudí held many passions in life. Architecture, religion, and nature. His work considered everything and his architecture would benefit from carpentry, stained glass, ceramics, wrought ironwork forging – essentially, it’s decorative forged metalwork or steelwork.

He also used unused ceramic pieces (waste) as part of new material techniques, such as trencadís. Think of it as a mosaic of cemented-together bits/pieces, broken tile shares/mosaics, or broken shards. This material technique was used by Antoni Gaudí and continues to be used by artists to create unique, random designs which are geometric or pictorial patterns or a combination.

Gaudí’s main influence, considering Sagrada Familia’s elements, was that of Neo-gothic art and oriental themes. Through this, he became part of the Modernista movement which peaked in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. He would eventually eclipse mainstream Modernisme, incorporating styles inspired by natural, organic forms. Not sure about you, but we’re thinking of our beloved John Lautner, America’s famed architect for organic and futuristic styles!

Gaudí had a unique quality. He was known to mold details, and create three-dimensional scale models versus draw details plans. That’s very cool. You might end up thinking he was ancestor to George Lucas and the Industrial Light and Magic since their early work involved composited elements and large and small-scale models for film-making.

Next time someone talks about Eixample, you’ll know more about its history AND the Mood House. 😉

The Mood House Project

Located in Eixample, Barcelona, Spain, the Mood House involved the complete renovation of an apartment within a multi-family building built in the early 1900s. The project was completed in September 2019. For a vintage look at Barcelona from the early 1900s, see the postcard below. A snapshot of lives lived and lived lives.

Vintage Black and White Postcard: Barcelona, Plaza Univerisdad, Photo by L. Reisin
“Barcelona004” by spinneyhead is licensed under CC BY-NC-SA 2.0

Reminiscent of the home we grew up in (built-in 1917), the Mood House apartment design prior to the project, had a highly compartmentalized interior. You have to understand this. In this period, homes were constructed with narrow halls, smaller rooms, and far too much compartmentalization which would be suffocating today! Like our home, this construction design created dark passages, interiors, and windowing systems that did not allow residents to enjoy natural daylight. Awfully depressing, if you ask us.

In our parent’s home, there was no connection between the kitchen and dining area, and the living room was served by a narrow courtyard entranceway with Roman-style pillars. The Mood House’s prior construct also had no connection but between the dining or living room. This division relegated living room use to special happenings. No guest rooms, storage space, deficient lighting led to an interior study being used mainly as a storeroom.

Initially, the apartment was deficient in heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) technology and would be installed in a false ceiling in the bathroom to the adjoining main bedroom (ensuite). Understandably, the noise and poor thermal insulation made for difficult summer sleeps. Add to the mess, HVAC circuits were installed in false ceilings in several locations.

Project: A Huge Challenge

This project was undertaken GokoStudio Architects, based in Barcelona. Admittedly, they would find this project extremely challenging as the house would need to accommodate a disabled resident, requiring wheelchair access.

The single-family apartment home required a complete layout change, with a specific accommodation request, in a rigid, multi-family building. The building’s construction system had a first-floor load-bearing wall structure which made it impossible to re-design the apartment walls.

Key Homeowner Project Requirements

INTEGRATIONIntegrate day-time living space (kitchen, living room, dining room), open to the main facade, not forgetting study area. Goal: to freshen up the daytime area.
CIRCULATIONAdapted in the day-time living space and ensuite room, 2.95 feet wide with no level changes and turning radiuses 3.94 feet
RETURN OF HIGH-CEILINGGoal to help apartment home recover lost elegance and grace. This proved extremely difficult as homeowners made several extra installation demands: air conditioning, water softener, heating, screen, project, audio, router for multiple internet connections, reverse osmosis, uninterrupted power supply.

LOL!

The homeowner’s demands for the project meant, load-bearing walls were not removed, resulting in no impact to functional spaces and layout. Like many homeowners today, the residents wanted an open, contemporary, or mid-century modern layout, creating flow but integration between spaces. As such, the architects created a well-lit day-time area and the kitchen-dining-living room faced the facade. At one end, the glass balcony benefited from custom-made furniture, creating a connected study, with views of the street.

The Kitchen

The apartment benefits from a flexible kitchen-dining room arrangement that can serve the family in two ways:

  1. A table can rest against the island, with plenty of room to move about
  2. An extended table, turned 90 degrees, supports the needs of large gatherings, up to 14

The Day-Time Area

The functionality of the daytime area is supported by a wooden bench, flexible dining table lamp, folding doors, and a delicious mid-century modern sofa that dramatically increase the apartment’s elegance and modern, contemporary vibe. This is a dramatic representation of a modern apartment, with no rigid compartmentalization, except for the folding steel and glass door to allow free flow between spaces.

The Suite Bedroom

The former en-suite bathroom added extra space to the main bedroom. This allowed for an open, adapted dressing room, and organized furniture which combines the wardrobe and bed headboard.

As part of the reconstruction, the owner wanted as much storage space as possible. Gokostudio turned a former study into a washroom with cabinets. The apartment’s previous kitchen was divided, to support an ensuite bathroom and home help room.

The Hallway

The architectural studio used only three materials for this project. Wood, porcelain, and micro-cement. The upgraded apartment home relies on these three materials as the common theme that binds all spaces together. Colors were limited to grey tones, wood, and copper.

The end result is an apartment that communicates serenity with muted or understated complexion, using wood, custom-made furniture for tight spaces, and copper. The family is now able to enjoy a flood of sunlight and functionality without compartmentalization or other obstacles. The home resonates with an optimum acoustic and thermal upgrade which allows family members to feel functionally comfortable.

Gokostudio Architects

Founded in 2011, Gokostudio Architects is based in Barcelona, Spain. The studio is recognized for its meticulous projects focused on restoration, refurbishing, or new builds which place people ahead of home design, home decor, and architecture.

With more than 50 projects to its name in Barcelona, the company has expanded its business to other Spanish cities like Valencia, Tarragone, Madrid, including Buenos Aires, Argentina.

The Mood House was an extremely complex project, involving many requirements, with difficult limitations of the multi-family unit building’s structure. The studio seeks projects which harmonize vertical urban living conditions, through features that help people feel safe, comfortable, and free. Their projects have created transitional spaces which flow between interior and exterior spaces. Harmony. Comfort. Functional. Architecture improves the quality of life.