Spanish architecture firm Andrea Solé Arquitectura has given new life to the ruins of Can Tomeu, a historic Catalan building from the 1800s that is now a modern, self-sufficient home. In addition to sensitively restoring and reinforcing the remaining walls from the original construction, the architects expanded the building footprint with an annex and inserted site-sensitive materials that imbue the home with a sense of warmth. The house has also been outfitted with solar panels, diesel tanks and rainwater harvesting and graywater systems for off-grid use.
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Located at the entrance of the Parc Natural de Garraf just outside of the town of St Pere de Ribes, Can Tomeu was originally used for agricultural and stone-crafting purposes for the Masia Corral d’en Capdet. Although the building was later abandoned and deteriorated into ruins comprising only bearing walls, Can Tomeu was classified as a Cultural Asset of Local Interest (BCIL), a designation that requires the preservation of the building’s remaining elements. Despite the strict regulations and the poor conditions of the ruins, the architects took on the challenge by carefully rehabilitating the original walls and expanding the footprint by 30%.
The architects used iron mesh and concrete reinforcement to repair and join the original stone walls. Concrete was also used to raise the height of the existing walls and form a new roof structure. In contrast, the exterior walls of the new annex are rendered as smooth, white surfaces. Large, timber-framed windows punctuate both the old and new construction to visually tie the buildings together, bring a sense of warmth into the home and frame exterior landscape views. The light-filled interiors match the minimalist design approach of the exteriors with a simple materials palette that includes ceramic tiling to evoke a Mediterranean character.
“The performance represents a second life for the building, rediscovering the existing interior spaces of clear and powerful geometry that after the intervention constitute a new spatial experience,” the architects noted.
Photography by Adria Goula via Andrea Solé Arquitectura