Casa Entremuros

Location: Olot, Girona, Spain
Designer: rcr arquitectes, Olot, Girona, Spain
Project: Casa Entremuros
Client: private/private
Time of construction: 2009-2012
Steel profiles for doors and windows: Palladio SpA, Treviso, Italia
Photographs: Hisao Suzuki
Casa Entremuros is a wonderful example of how a home, that is part of a historic building, can be profoundly reinterpreted.

The aim was to grasp the intimate essence that was within these walls, hence the name “Casa Entremuros”, removing all the superstructures, and once the space had been freed it was ready to host new life, a home.
Strictly speaking, the factors that were put into play in this project go well beyond the conventional technical problems of recovery, and initiate a radical rethinking of the spaces, of the way of thinking and living inside the house: whether it is entertaining friends, cooking or resting.
The limitations imposed by the Fine Arts and Monuments Council only concerned the conservation of the main façade on the entrance side overlooking the street.
The new project involves a single space divided over different levels and heights.
Just a few elements have been kept: the perimeter walls, except the one facing the garden, and the roof, and inside the enormous empty space is linked by “invisible stairways”.
Two side corridors run along the depth of the building, like wings on a stage, and are defined by a series of steel slats that go up to the ceiling, a close sequence of vertical lines that are stiffened in the critical points by means of horizontal windbracing plate inserts. These house the stairways, landings and bathrooms and utility rooms.
While focusing on linking the open spaces on different levels, privacy has still been guaranteed to certain areas – which can never be directly seen.
The new wall facing the garden opens fully like a gigantic designed frame. Returning to the theatrical metaphor, this wall acts like a big screen that opens towards the stage, revealing the interiors of the house, the real theatrical scene. The openings are very large: the wings are more than five meters tall, but the frame profiles are extremely slender (just three centimetres). Space is left for the transparent glass, but with sufficient rigidity to support and easily move these large and heavy wings. The tubular profiles that are used for the fixed and mobile frames are galvanised steel, which means that a wide range of finishes can be chosen from, and in this case untreated stainless steel was the ultimate choice.
The logic that was pursued in the project to return to the essential nature of things, the totally reducing the number of components, is in perfect tuning with a more universal research – accomplice in any period of profound change – that distinguishes this era we are living in.

Marina Cescon
Acciaio Arte Architettura 52