What this Barcelona co-living building could mean for tomorrow’s urban environments

To give our audience eyes and ears into the live judging sessions that took place at Frame Awards 2020, we're sharing coverage of the insightful jury conversations that decided the winning projects. Below, we celebrate the recipient of the award for Co-Living Complex of the Year: Casa Burés by Estudio Vilablanch and TDB Arquitectura. Find the full collection of reports in our newly released May/June 2020 issue, Frame 134.

Barcelona – Undeniably gorgeous and tasteful: so were the jury members’ unanimous views on Casa Burés in Barcelona. A modern baroque feeling pervades each space of the 26-unit building, where restored frescoes elegantly frame both luxury apartments and common areas, culminating in an emotive interpretation of co-living. ‘It’s the contrast of co-living with luxury,’ enthused Alfredo Häberli, founder of his eponymous design studio. ‘It’s a niche, but a very essential one moving forward when we consider socioeconomic trends.’

Dominique Taffin of Yanfeng Automotive Interiors used the winning project as an example of what co-living could achieve tomorrow: ‘Within Casa Burés, you can participate in maintaining the heritage of an existing and deteriorating environment. Such projects could ultimately bring different wealth classes back into cities again.’ Indeed, with current high urban densification and the underappreciation of existing buildings, the prospect of rehabilitating historical buildings through a conscious communitarian lifestyle is encouraging.

Casa Burés topped its category and divided the jury: a thoughtful restoration project, yes, yet too exclusive to be truly considered co-living?

But one question remained: Does the project fulfil the definition of co-living? ‘Modern apartment blocks have created cities of gated, exclusive communities,’ said Antonin Yuji Maeno of Cutwork, specialists in new ways to live and work. ‘Today we are witnessing the emergence of a lot of experiments in cohabitation. At its best, shared architecture can unlock these gates and create more inclusive urban environments that encourage local interactions. Its potential goes beyond aesthetics to propose new ways of sharing and living in our cities, ways in which more accessible public spaces are created.’ With its luxurious closed porte-cochère and private communal amenities that include a swimming pool, spa, gym, wine cellar and event space, Casa Burés was provocative on a philosophical level.

estudiovilablanch.com

tdb-arquitectura.com

Frame Awards 2020’s Residential category was proudly sponsored by Laufen. The People’s Choice award went to Rheingold Bushwick by Durukan Design.

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