Barcelona – Once there was a two-storey semi-basement house in a 1924 building nearby Barcelona’s Park Güell that had suffered the obvious hands of time. That is, until architecture and interiors practice Mas-aqui came along. The local studio, founded by Japanese architect Masaaki Higashi and Minorcan artist Esther Mir, have made a total revision that brings the residence into this century. While it was clear from the start of the project that the home would need a sizable intervention, for Higashi and Mir, it introduced an ‘exciting challenge to transform the difficulties into the opportunity to achieve a unique home with a marked personality’.
‘The rooms were completely lacking in light and ventilation, and communication between the different floors of the building was complicated,’ explain the architect and artist, adding: ‘The lower basement had been practically abandoned for years, and access was only possible via an outside staircase.’ Their initial task was to redefine the uses of each space, so as to reconnect and maximize the functionality of the interior.
Now the home distributes its square meterage over five sections, with two connected exits that open to the outdoors. Perhaps the most pivotal point of the renovation was the addition of a staircase – for which an excavation of 1.2 m of land was necessary. ‘This intervention completely determined the character of the house and became a central element,’ they continue, explaining that the excavation created a double-height space.