APPAREIL has converted a Barcelona warehouse into co-working office and maker space, on the top floor of a building in Poblenou, the city’s former industrial quarter. Currently part of the 22@Barcelona – Innovation District’s renewal plan, approved in 2000, the area is evolving into a dynamic, vibrant urban district, brimming with knowledge-intensive activities, from both the professional and academic sectors.
The project serves as the studio’s new permanent base, but it is also rented out for both long-term use and one-off events to urban planners, city data analysers, digital makers, and as academic research studios for the IAAC and the AA Visiting School.
The refurbishment of this typical warehouse space provides a simple open working space for a group of independent professionals from the architecture world and neighbouring disciplines. It has been designed to propel them in developing their work in a transparent manner, sharing ideas and stimulating potential collaborations.
Besides floating tables, the volume remains deliberately hollow, and all functionalities are pushed to two intricate milled-timber multifunctional walls, which house all necessary equipment and can accommodate temporary local working solutions. All furniture can be integrated into the walls to create a polyvalent space to host cultural activities.
Within the residual rectangular open space, the distribution evolves according to activities that change on a daily basis, depending on the people and projects that are present at any given time. A simple, functional kitchen and bathroom are located on the periphery, as well as a winter garden that faces the sea.
Designed and constructed on site, the refurbishment is a live test for professional interactions in this multidisciplinary melting pot of a district. It embraces the concentrations of makers, designers, architects, entrepreneurs and various crafts, both those which are manually operated and those which it equips with numerically controlled production methods: a swarming creative hub within a hub.
About the Architects
Founded in Barcelona in 2011, APPAREIL develops a process- based design methodology built on a fascination for the tool, combining interests for traditional craft and digital means of conception and manufacturing. The office is located in the Innovation District of the 22@Barcelona and relies on a set of close relationships with makers and digital manufacturing experts, as well as the academic world.
In parallel to practice, the studio develops research topics in the academia. Its principal, Edouard Cabay, has been running design studios in various European universities: he currently teaches at the Institute for Advanced Architecture of Catalonia in Barcelona as Studio Director and as Studio Director at the EPFL in Lausanne. He has taught at the Architectural Association School of Architecture as a diploma unit master, at the IAAC as Faculty of digital fabrication and has been Associated Professor at the Ecole Spéciale d’Architecture in Paris, from 2012 to 2015.
APPAREIL has extensive experience in international academic and professional workshops. For four years, the studio has co- directed the AA Visiting School Barcelona workshop entitled “Bodega ”; directed the workshop “Crade et Vivant ” with Michel Gondry, an encounter between architecture and film at the IAAC; is consistently hired by the University of Sinaloa (Mexico) for annual workshop on 1:1 construction of innovative structures; it co- coordinates “House 1 ”, an EPFL first year project, of which the outcome is a 1:1 construction in Lausanne and Versailles. The studio has completed installations and temporary structures in Spain, Colombia, Iran, Morocco, Serbia, Italy, France, Belgium, Serbia, Mexico, Singapore, India, Ecuador, Switzerland, Georgia and Ethiopia.