Can Sau was a residential property located within the old city centre of Olot, where nowadays it is not unusual to see vacant sites. Given that half of the building was affected by a future street alignment, it was demolished leaving an urban void characterised by a party wall and four stepped buttresses facing the side façade of the Tura church, dedicated to the patron saint of Olot. Resulting in an urban environment characterised by abandoned lots, loss of definition, disfigurement and the destruction of the surrounding streetscape.
After being commissioned by the city council to come up with a new pavement treatment for the demolished site and taking advantage of an ongoing contract to provide waterproof metal cladding to the exposed buttresses, the project was reformulated.
The allocation of resources to the vertical plane was considered a matter of urgency, and which apart from guaranteeing its waterproofing would lend the space a greater sense of urbanity. In a compact city like Olot the street façades shape the urban context and provide its character.
An emergency mise-en-scène employing hollow brick was constructed that completes what the raw structural buttresses suggested, revealing traces of domestic activity in the background with their imprint on the party wall.
A series of three vaults and four niches is offered to the public space as a three dimensional façade, further defined by the paving treatment. It is an unfinished and versatile structure which can be adapted to situations. The visual artist Quim Domene carried out a number of interventions a posteriori within the niches, with elements allegorical to the history of the neighbourhood.
The Tura church, confined between narrow streets, now has a public space to its lateral façade, presided over by the closed-off door dating from the previous temple of the XV Century.
Project Name: Can Sau. Emergency scenery
Location: Catalonia, Spain
Architect Office: unparelld'arquitectes
Area: 113 m²
Completion Year: 2018
Photographer: José Hevia, Roger Serrat-Calvó, Esteve Moner. Arxiu Comarcal de la Garrotxa. Col·lecció d’imatges de Josep Ma. Dou Camps
unparelld'arquitectes is an architectural office led by Eduard Callís and Guillem Moliner and based in Olot, Catalonia, Spain.
The projects the office develops are a meeting place between different worlds and scales. We foster exchanges between infrastructure and decoration, between domestic sphere and public space, between the city and the garden. They build radiant scenes, capable of activating the activity, of narrating a new story that is attentive to real life and of building an atmosphere according to its characteristics of space, symbolism, materiality and light.
The work of unparelld’arquitectes has been exhibited at several events and art galleries as the Biennial of Architecture of São Paulo (2019), La Biennale di Venezia (2012), Aedes Berlin (2011) or Nogo Lisboa (2010). It has been awarded by the Spanish Biennial of Architecture and Urbanism (2018), Girona Architecture Prize (2019/2018/2017/2016/2004), AJAC Award (2016/2012), Darc Awards (2016), shortlisted at the AR Emerging Awards (2016), European Award for Urban Public Space (2016) or FAD Awards (2017/2014), among others.
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