Architects turn an old factory in Barcelona into an innovation hub for creative companies
A formerly industrial site in Barcelona’s Poblenou neighbourhood (nicknamed the 'Catalan Manchester' in the 19th century, now a place of urban renewal) has been transformed into a sun-drenched innovation hub named Acid House Barcelona. Taking the bare bones of an old factory, Arquitectura-G designed the 500-sq-m workspace venue, which now effectively accommodates a collective of different creative businesses and projects including Vice, Nomad Coffee, Offf and others.
The building itself is composed of two aisles, the main with a double-pitched roof volume and the other a double-height ceiling space. Respecting the original factory layout, the practice, working with structural consultant Toni Casas and TDI Enginyers, strategically placed each company according to the parameters of the pre-existing space: there’s the primary workplace in the main aisle, and an office, classroom, workspace and bathrooms in the adjacent. On the ground floor, offices, shop windows, a cafeteria and meeting rooms obscure private spaces from direct street contact.
Arquitectura-G painted the ex-factory entirely in white – the masonry walls, riveted beams and trusses all included – to visually unify the hub. Glass enclosures and wooden flooring, sprayed plaster and brick textures are juxtaposed against one another, retaining the diverse tactility present at the site. Interior landscaping by Esther Ribas fills the space, bringing colour to the interiors but also serving a functional means: vegetation is used as boundary markings for a meeting room enclosed in the main space. ‘The industrial past of the place is ordered – and yet valued,’ explains a spokesperson for Arquitectura-G.
As Acid House is a shared by many, utmost flexibility was necessary. Mobile furniture detached from the built matter gives users the option for increased autonomy in – easily transportable tables, stands and staircases can be moved at will, giving way to a limitless range of possible utility.