Case Studies

ArchitectDAVID TAPIAS

CollaboratorRICARD PAU

CarpenterRELS

LocationREUS

Year2020

ForAIXOPLUC

m255

PhotographJOSÉ HEVIA

Raval Santa Anna 1

The first inhabitable prototype of our Homeful system. A workplace, apartment, guest house and showroom at once. We have designed and built it together with our friends from Rels.

CHARACTERIZATION

A narrow and long building in a corner of the former bourgeois heart of Reus. In it, a 55 m2 former photographer’s studio that was originally a tiny apartment, with two bedrooms, a living room, kitchen and bathroom. It is right underneath our workshop. The three apartments in the same building share the odd quality that the floor is 20 cms. higher on one end than in the other. The pavement is more a ramp than a floor. Its wooden beams have bent over the years, so the floor is a convex, irregular surface as well. The current WC down pipe position can’t be altered because the two floors below cannot be accessed if necessary. The photographer retired and the place was empty for almost two years. Nobody was interested in renting it.


RESEARCH QUESTION AND HYPOTHESIS

  1. Research question.
    How can we make this habitat as multipurpose as possible?
  2. Hypotheses.
    By compacting all service-intensive activities on the smallest corner of the space, we free the rest to welcome unpredicted life. Furthermore, this densified corner is reconfigurable with components that can expand and contract according to different needs.

PROTOTYPING

Digital

We decided to repair the place hoping someone might be interested in renting it. It was not clear wether it would be more successful as an apartment or an office. So we decided to do more than both. It is now also a showroom for the innovative family of products, components and systems that Aixopluc and its spinoff Shelterhood are constantly researching and developing. And the first instalment of a one-room hostel chain called Alfondac, that can be rented by hours, days, weeks or months, so young professionals can work or meet, and curious travellers can find their refuge -parada i fonda- in this stretch of the Mediterranean.

It is the first inhabitable prototype of our Homeful System, which is implemented in such a way that all services are condensed in the narrowest side of this habitat, right by the stairs, freeing up as much unqualified space as possible. In order to prepare the new interior for a potential second phase renovation when a new flat floor might be installed, we changed the position of the main entrance, one step up the stairs, so now one accesses through this narrow corner. In case this second phase never happens, the closet -which can also contain a bigger fridge- is ready to become the main entrance as well.

Beneath the existing pavement we found the original hydraulic tiles, which have recently become a cliché image for the refurbishment of apartments by Catalan architects. We polished it because it was the cheapest option. We reinforced the wooden beams with the lightest solution we could come up with. We put in new windows and insulated the thinner existing walls in order to minimise the need for heating, which is provided by an Austrian pellet stove.

Transformation stages:

Initial state.

Removal of parts in bad shape.

Structural improvement and Homeful components.

Portable Homeful components.

Current state.

Physical

What’s the matter with grilled sardines and sweat? This iteration is an exploration of the potential benefits of having different activities and their smells -shit, lavender soap, pee, escudella, incense, linen sheets after sex, hyacinth flowers, baby’s poo and half-full glasses of Priorat wines- coexist rather than being segregated. We bring all wet, hot and dirty activities closer in four 100×100 cm terrazzo surfaces, each custom designed for at least two specific activities that are usually separated: having a shower and drying up clothes; bathing your children and washing clothes; cleaning food and cooking gear; and cooking.

There is no separation between the bathroom’s, the kitchen’s and the rest of the place’s air. We open up the last domestic frontier: the WC. By sharing our intimacy -while still giving some to guests- we hopefully get closer than just being together, accept ourselves and this unfiltered diversity becomes the scent of love. By opening up the last frontier of the inhabitant’s bodily functions -their own and other’s shit- we are not making any academic statement, but plainly undomesticating the relation with their physiology, while increasing hygiene conditions and the versatility of this rather small space that now becomes a true one room, and therefore roomless abode.

This is an inhabited prototype.

Wall iteration 1.

Wall iteration 2.

Stairs iteration 1.

Stairs iteration 2.

In situ terrazzo floor. Iteration 1.

In situ terrazzo floor. Iteration 2.

The former photographer's studio right after demolition.


A DAY IN THE LIFE

José Hevia. July 2019.

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