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ARQ (Santiago)

versión On-line ISSN 0717-6996

ARQ (Santiago)  no.102 Santiago ago. 2019 

Works & projects

110 Rooms


1 MAIO, Barcelona, España.


Rather than a building with 22 apartments, this project was conceived as a set of 110 rooms. That entirely changes the coordinates from which high-rise urban housing is formulated. Such initial theoretical speculation pushes architectural speculation (transforming those rooms into apartments and a building) and the economic one as well: convincing a real estate client that typological homogeneity can be good business as it allows flexibility of use.

Keywords: speculation; building; heritage; process; project

Figure 1 Rooms 

Figure 2 Collage 

Figure 3 Axonometry 

The building is born out of a radicalization of everything that seems valuable to us from the. Eixample’s typological domestic tradition. Type floor plans are formalized following the distribution of equal (or almost equal) rooms that traditionally characterized late nineteenth-century residential buildings in the area, which have modified their use throughout the decades without major changes. A seemingly rigid system that has yet allowed changing its use over time.

Figure 4 Site plan 

Figure 5 First level plan, form scheme 

Figure 6 First level plan 

Understanding this typological condition, the residential building has been conceived as a system of rooms in which each apartment can be expanded or reduced - by either adding or subtracting rooms - in order to answer to its inhabitants’ future needs. With this flexibility in mind, the rooms have similar dimensions eliminating thus any spatial hierarchy or fixed program. Each apartment can be defined and reprogrammed as appropriate; even the position of the kitchen can vary. Such flexibility is made possible due to the location of the bathrooms, which concentrate the vertical systems that could eventually be connected with every other room. Initially, each floor plan is divided into four apartments with five rooms connected to each other without the need for a corridor. The kitchen is placed in the center, while the other rooms can be used indistinctly as bedrooms, studios, or living rooms.

Figure 7 Front elevation 

Figure 8 Rear elevation 

Figure 9 Longitudinal section 

Furthermore, the ground floor reinterprets the traditional and popular halls in the Eixample, where marbles and large spaces outline the place for reception and representation. As if they were large living objects, the traditional furniture is transformed here into stone volumes placed in the middle of a large expanse. The open interior patios allow natural ventilation and turn the ground floor into an extension of the garden and the street - where it literally rains.

Figure 10 Typical floor plan 

Figure 11 Dwelling units variations 

Something similar happens with the façade, where the traditional archetypal composition has simply been replicated. The façade works as a re-reading of the ‘ordinary’ and traditional architecture in Cerdà’s Eixample, dominated by lime stucco with decorative patterns, vertical openings, balconies, and wooden shutters.

Source: © José Hevia

Figure 12 

Source: © José Hevia

Figure 13 

Source: © José Hevia

Figure 14 

110 rooms

Architects: Maio - María Charneco, Anna Puigjaner, Alfredo Lérida, Guillermo López

Collaborators: Miguel Bernat, Núria Ortigosa

Location: Provença, Barcelona, España

Client: Uzara SL

Structural engineering: Masala Consultors

Construction: Gaspar Alloza Ginés, Vanesa Solano Martín Electrical & mechanical engineering: Font i Armengol

Landscape: Beatriz Borque Badenas

Built area: 2.795 m2

Project year: 2013-2015

Construction year: 2015-2016


MAIO MAIO is an architectural office based in Barcelona and New York that works on spatial systems that permit theoretical positions materialize. The practice has developed a wide range of projects, from housing blocks or urban planning to furniture or exhibition design. Its members combine professional activities with academic, research and editorial ones. MAIO has lectured at The Metropolitan Museum of Art, Barbican Center, GSAPP-Columbia University, RIBA, UC Berkeley, Yale School of Architecture, and Piet Zwart Institute among other places. It’s work has been published in magazines such as Domus, AIT, Volume, Blueprint, A10 and Detail. Lately MAIO has participated at Venice Biennial 2016 in the Spanish Pavillion (awarded with the golden Lion), at Chicago Architecture Biennial (2015 & 2017) and co-curated a Weekend Special at the Venice Biennial 2014 together with SPACE CAVIAR and DPR-Barcelona.

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