This small flat in Barcelona has been stripped down in order to be renovated in a very sustainable way and for a limited budget and. This has been possible because part of the work has been done by the owners themselves and because the majority of construction materials are second hand or reused.

During the design process much attention has been placed in bringing to light the original elements such as the brick vaults, the original cement tiles, the old doors, ventilation shafts etc. Modern elements and materials, such as the the clay walls, wooden floor, wooden cabinets and led lighting are introduced to match with the old ones and to add higher comfort and functionality to the space.

The floor plan includes two bedrooms and a big living room including an open kitchen which works at the same time as distribution to the bedrooms and toilet. Given the reduced size of the flat the result is very spacious and luminous and yet very functional.

Probably the most relevant aspect of the project is the environmentally sound approach, which is further detailed in the following list of interventions:

Natural insulation: a new layer of natural insulation (40mm pavatex) has been added on the inside of some of the external walls.
Low temperature wall heating system: in combination with the insulation a low temperature heating system has been mounted onto the walls. Besides being much more efficient than a conventional heating system, it also conveys a higher degree of comfort to the house.
High efficiency heater + smart thermostat: the natural gas heater has an efficiency of more than 100% given the condensation recovery system and it is run by a remote thermostat which uses an algorithm to further improve its efficiency.
Clay plastering: the heating system is embedded in 3 cm thick layer of clay which works as thermal mass and as a humidity regulator for the inner space. It is a 100% natural and non-processed material with no toxic emissions. At the same time the space is enriched by the texture and the natural pigments of the clay.
Reuse of materials: most of the materials are reclaimed. The compressed cement hydraulic tiles from the 20th century are original to the flat; the wooden floor, also used to make the cabinets’ doors, is a second hand floor coming from a gym 15 km away; the doors were also in the flat and have been repainted on site; even the kitchen tops are reclaimed.
Led lighting: all the flat is lit by led. Most of the emitting agents are warm temperature (2700ºK) led strips partially hidden in order to achieve indirect illumination and to light up the brick vaults and the clay walls while giving a pleasant ambient light to the rooms. The lamp hanging on the kitchen’s island has been specifically designed and made using cnc milling machine.
100% renewable power supply: the electricity for the flat comes from a local provider (SomEnergia) which guarantees 100% renewable and as much as possible local energy supply.
Natural ventilation: the original AC system has been removed and instead the flat is cooled down during the hot summer months by shadowing and natural ventilation. The original chimney shafts which were not in use anymore have been connected to the main living room allowing the hot air to raise up to the roof and being expelled even when no breeze is there. In the sleeping rooms electric funs are installed on the ceiling.
Wooden frame partitions: the new partition walls are realised with wooden profiles instead of aluminium ones which are much less sustainable given the high embedded energy level.
Massive wood furniture: all furniture are custom made using massive wood or plywood avoiding mdf and other conglomerates with high percentage of phenolic glue.

As a result of the renovation the Energy Label went from G to D (from 250 to 150 kWh/year).
Although a significant reduction of 40% has been achieved the expected consumption is even lower given that the official energy label doesn’t take into account significant reduction factors such us the wall heating efficiency and natural ventilation.


location: Barcelona

surface: 50 m2, attic

construction year of the building: 1932

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