gon architects renovate madrid apartment for vogue fashion photographer
a journey through time for MR house
gon architects and ana torres intertwine past and present for this meticulous apartment renovation At the heart of Madrid. the project was first commissioned in January 2016 by MR, a prestigious photographer who lived in new york for many years and works for vogue USA among other magazines.
named ‘Maison MR’, the project is the result of a complex rehabilitation, built by multiple layers of different eras with a high level of detail and finishes that reveal the multiplicity of its transformations over the years; a journey through time, a careful work of material and spatial archeology, in which artisanal processes are claimed, which delves into a past in which elements of the future have been introduced to live a present that retains the charm of the apartment of origin.
pictures © subliminal image
the 175 m² residence is located on the third floor of a 1900s building in madrid’s leganitos street. architects gonzalo pardo and anna torres say when they first visited the house they were most struck by the “decadent bourgeois atmosphere” and “a certain magical flair”. a flair they attribute to the spatio-material characteristics intrinsic to this type of large-scale habitat, such as the hierarchical structure of the linked rooms, its thick load-bearing walls, the marble and slate checkerboard floors, the wallpapered walls , the large number of floor-to-ceiling doors of different formats and transparencies, the presence of three fireplaces, and the high ceilings surmounted by perimeter moldings and central rosettes.
the challenge of the project was clear: to retain the charm of the original house while incorporating into the new design the many stories that the house already contains. faced with the idea of making the architecture of the house disappear without leaving any trace of what it was, the idea was to work with memory as another project material, in an intervention capable of maintaining the ” ghost” of the twentieth century but set in the twenty-first century.
the renovation, which lasted five years and involved different project phases and the necessary licenses, aims at the coexistence between the original structural, spatial and material values of the house, and those that contemporary technology translates into domestic comforts that make home a comfortable and more sustainable place.
the design of the plurality of the domestic spaces of the house was achieved through two distinct strategies: one that reuses, takes advantage of and reinterprets the most identifying elements of the house, such as the 22 existing doors, or the 955 slate tiles and of marble present in the original pavements, which are listed in the inventory. this meticulous and delicate work methodology – almost surgical -, allowed the architects to clean, approach and discover the project, which facilitated its relocation, individual or assembled, in the floor of the new house, and gave it a second life.
all the elements that could not be preserved and recovered, such as the moldings or the fireplaces, were reinterpreted and built according to a contemporary language consistent with the house. for other elements that were necessary but did not exist, such as cabinet doors, some existing decorative motifs were digitized and pantographed using a digital control system, with negative version imprints to differentiate them from the originals , on new support materials.
the second strategy aims to carry out deep spatial operations in accordance with contemporary lifestyles, such as establishing continuous and fluid links between all the rooms of the house thanks to the demolition of partitions and the atomization of certain rooms. such as, for example, the kitchen or the bathrooms, where the toilet is separated from the shower and the sink, blurring the boundaries between public and private, or between indoors and outdoors. mirrors were also introduced, strategically placed, intended to generate optical illusions that duplicate and enlarge the rooms.
Last name: Mr. HOUSE
site: Madrid, Spain
architecture: gon architects + ana torres
region: 175 m²
photography: subliminal image
designboom received this project from our ‘DIY Submissions‘ feature, where we invite our readers to submit their own work for publication. see more project submissions from our readers here.
edited by: lynne myers | design boom