Apartment reformation | Paulo Martins Architects

 | 18 : 00 – 12 November 2017 |


Paulo Martins Architect have given a dynamic yet contemporary design transformation to a 1980’s built apartment in Barcelona.

Renovation of historical landmark and spaces is a daunting task. It’s a challenge to reinstate the space to its former glory with design interventions. This apartment complex at Calle Valencia had apparently undergone several changes in its age of 36 years. It’s location on the southern side of Antoni Gaudi’s iconic La Sagrada Famila monument, makes it inherent part of the city’s architecture.

The apartment had ‘small spaces, cramped with balconies turned into sun rooms; dark, sad spaces’. As per the Paulo Martins Architect, this deplorable condition of the apartment were probably a consequence of the rising real estate prices and due to the programmatic needs of previous owners.




Surrounding Barcelona’s old city, the Eixample district is an unmistakable grid of some 900 seemingly similar city blocks master planned by Spanish Urban planner Ildefons Cerda.  His vision was to give the city a neighborhood which is more organised, clean and green. Well the only features adopted out of his plan were the outlines of the blocks of buildings (manzanas), with their famous chamfered corners. With most of the original planning aspects modified and open internal spaces eaten up, the resultant apartments today stand as an extremely dense cramped neighborhood.

From the architect –

‘We wanted to return the apartment to its former dynamics and transport the cosmopolitanism of the city into the private experience of its current owners, keeping the apartment as a refuge within the city… we wanted to recover the balcony and the dynamics of a manzana inner courtyard, and permit the light of Barcelona to illuminate every corner.’ – Paulo Martins Architect.


The expansive living room


As one enters the apartment, an informal 4 seater wooden dining table greets us. Beyond this the living space has a seating area connected to the large balcony. The white-painted walls provide a stark contrast to the black minimal furnishings of the living room. A back-lit bookshelf provides a colorful respite in the living space.


Minimal furniture in the social space!


‘The sleeping quarters are hidden behind a covert door that can only be seen from the balcony onto which the rooms open.’

Floor plan – After renovation


The kitchen also finished in white color is tucked onto the left side before entering the bedroom areas. The inconspicuous door from social areas leads to two bedrooms on both side and master suite at end of the passage.


The kitchen space


‘The suite that runs along one side of the apartment does not escape the rule, and it’s also an open space that can be closed through sliding doors. A mirrored wall leads to the bathroom where there is a mirror that reflects the typical manzana inner courtyard, not allowing us, at any moment, to forget the city we live in’!


The lobby areas leading to private rooms


Bedroom opens to the adjoining balcony

Bedrooms – 

The bedrooms open in the balcony giving an unmistakable view of the courtyard. The wooden flooring of the space gives a homely warm feeling for an evening coffee break.


The balcony opens into the interior courtyard


A foldable bed and clean line furniture in one of the bedroom’s paves a way to make the space usable for multiple purposes. Like a mini workout area?


Multi purpose space with foldable bed


Workout space!


The use of mirrors at strategic places to reflect features of the space and city has given a different perspective to the space.


Mirror.. Mirror..


Sliding doors for bedrooms


‘The use of few materials and a chromatic unit make this apartment a quiet and peaceful space, like a clean slate, ready to embrace new experiences and memories’ !


The master suite


Paulo Martins Architect, Bathroom, Small space, Bathroom interiors, White walls

Common Bathroom

Paulo Martins Architect, Apartment section, CAD drawing


Project details –

Project Name – Eixample Reform

Architect – Paulo Martins | paulomartins.com.pt

Project Location – Calle Valencia, Barcelona

Project TypeResidential, Renovation, Interior Design

Completion year – 2016

Built up area – 129 m2

Photography CreditsITS Ivo Tavares Studio

Product details –

Partitions – Plasterboard, Gesso cartonado

Flooring – Floating oak, Flutuante Carvalho

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