This unique project showcases the transformation of old farm buildings into a striking architectural structure, with an underground cave!
Farm House Chic
At the core of the project in Spain stood a handful of old farm buildings, ranging in age from hundreds of years old to some built at the beginning of the 20th century. Most of them were built cheaply for functional agricultural use; storing tools, a hayloft, a barn where mules slept. Underneath was a cave room used to keep food cool and fresh. But they were all falling apart, and it was time to sort out the dilapidated buildings.
Led by lead architect Joaquín Millán Villamuelas, the OOIIO Architecture team revitalized the buildings to merge them all into one home, while creating something modern, elegant and unique.
After more than 50 years of disuse and no maintenance, the buildings were about to collapse. The architects felt compelled to preserve the buildings’ original elements. By following ancient techniques and learning the way the builders worked the materials of the time, they were able to reinforce and preserve much of the original adobe and brick walls.
Combining Styles at the Front Door
When you first enter the house you notice there is a combination of modern and rustic. On the one hand, the earthy materials of stone and brick have been buffed, re-grouted and polished to stand out. Wooden beams have all been re-inforced and in some places replaced with steel beams that glisten in the hallway.
Historical Passage to Modern Architecture
With the large windows and structural elements at the entrance all clearly modern in design, they work to support and accentuate the historical elements. Contemporary windows frame the corridor, and lighting helps guide attention over the beautifully exposed surfaces. The wooden stove hints at the barn’s history, but it’s all been lovingly revamped.
In a concentrated effort to keep as much of the historical visuals as possible, a lot of the interior spaces have a unique un-embellished exterior feel from the large earthy toned tiles and substantial natural lighting.
Yet on the other hand, the interior designer also paired the furnishings and the accent pieces to feel rustic and homely, as you can see with the chairs and sofas.
The red brick was beginning to disintegrate and the architects had to persuade the clients not to demolish all of the brick walls. In the end, it was decided to repurpose the brick for the walls, which they were really happy with. “Playing with the existing recovered brick wall, [the bricks] provided a great richness in texture and finish.”
One of the key features of OOIIO Architecture’s vision is to utilize the spaces and the main attributes of the buildings already present. A walk down the hallway leads to several small ‘nooks’. Though these spaces lack width, the architect and interior designer have maximized the spaces with simplicity. The use of rugs, specifically large accent rugs, give the appearance of a bigger space. Also, by using vertical and horizontal lines in the decor, the architect directs the eye back and up, again making the space appear larger than it is.
A Spiral Separator
Joining all of the levels together is the new spiral staircase. It goes all the way up to where the hayloft was, and right down to the underground cave. The large spiral column is the ‘spatial connector’, from the inside looking smart and striking and from the outside resembles an agricultural silo tank often found on farms.
Not only connecting up and down the levels, the staircase is at the central of the layout between the older and newer buildings.
The living space still has a rustic country look to it, with the stunning blue beams and whitewashed brick walls. Furniture feels right in the space, textures and colors all balance harmoniously without trying to be overly modern, and keeping a nod to its turn-of-the-century roots.
‘The team decided to paint the original structural elements in traditional and local indigo blue and the new elements in black. This chromatic code shows the way the structure is actually working and became the definitive final touch of personality of the interior.’
You’ve noticed the blue beams, the polished historical clay tiles, but additionally the doors were taken down, cleaned and polished.
‘The combination of new and old structures creates a mestizo building, rich in nuances and singularities, rethinking the old by mixing it with the new. A refurbishment planned onsite by OOIIO architecture to recover these ancient buildings that now shine with a new life.’
Below the Surface
The cave area of the building is perhaps one of the most unique elements of the building. Narrow and long, the challenge was to create a space that was functional as well as aesthetically striking, keeping as much of the existing structure and colors as possible. The lighting, red brick, and natural wood all tie the room together.
The building showcases its unique personality, thanks to the polish and paint that goes into the revitalization of old materials. Supported with new lighting, reinforcement and contemporary engineering, the building will go on to shine with new life.
Looking for more unique projects? Take a tour through this Catalan home that features striking vaulted ceilings, or this solar dome built in Norway!
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