// arthitectural / Architecture / b720 Fermín Vázquez Arquitectos | Refurbishment of an office building

b720 Fermín Vázquez Arquitectos | Refurbishment of an office building

Architecture © Rafael Vargas

The project consists of transforming an administrative building between party walls, which had significant structural problems, into an office building. The work presents two basic concepts: on one side,  the training of obtaining, from a very determining pre-existence, the flexibility and services level that this typology demands. On the other side, a new façade had to allow its identification as a contemporary corporative building.

We decided to use colour as an integration tool in a consolidated environment of upper class apartment buildings. The treatment given to both façades puts them in opposite sides in terms of the public image of the building. The budget assigned by the owner to every façade was completely contrasting.

On the façade of Mestre Nicolau,coloured transparent glass slats draw a surface floating without specific limits face to the siding. The whole sets out gradually in two aspects: horizontally, the colour, changing from yellow to orange, borrowing the shades of the awnings of the close bourgeois balconies and terraces, and, vertically, the density of the slats, which, depending on the sun rays and on the narrowness of the street, make the protection more necessary in the upper floors than in the lower floors.

In the inner façade, we take advantage of the existing siding wall. We designed a simple white facing with oblong holes, regularly arranged. Every hole is encircled with a thick sheet plate as a perimeter entrance portal projecting from the façade surface and painted in several colours with a progression similar to the one of the main façade.

By removing a projecting body of the interior façade, it was possible to place the new access core in the central space, which was an air shaft by the party wall on the right. This allowed the distribution of the floors in two main office areas, facing, respectively, the exterior – Mestre Nicolau St. – and the inside -air shaft- and also a central area thought as an open office.

The ground floor is at the street level and comprises the accesses to the offices, the ramp for the parking access and a commercial premise taking the rest of available space. The structure was reinforced with carbon fibre and endured certain changes in the position of the columns existing in the basement and ground floors to be able to fit the current distribution to the new conditions of use.

We rebuilt the ground floor slab to level it with the street and raised the basement slab to get a lower development of the parking access ramp. We used colour combined with very highlighted graphics as a very effective resource to supply unity and differentiation in a peculiar building that will host different companies.

The hall and stairs are covered with black terrazzo applied continually on flooring and vertical facings, which sometimes tilt and form light grooves or transform in the concierge desk.

19, Mestre Nicolau St., Barcelona, Spain
Architect: Fermín Vázquez (b720 Arquitectos)
Project team:
Eduard Miralles, Carme Casanovas, Magdalena Ostornol, Katrin Baumgarten (Architects) Javier López (Arch. tech.)
Lucky Town – Layetana Inmuebles, S.L.
Structural Engineer:
Mechanical Engineer:
Celec S.A
Lighting Consultant:
Birgit Walters (b&m light consulting)
Project Manager:
Joan Artés – Tècnics G3
Teyco S.A, Talleres Inox (main facade)
Glass manufacturer:
Cricursa (brise-soleil)
Floor manufacturer:
Paviments Mata (floortiles)
Gross floor area: 4.445 sqm
Beginning date: January 2001
Completion date: November 2002
Rafael Vargas
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